Alabama’s Somos Tuskaloosa Announced as 2013 Torchlight Prize Winner

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Community Group Honored for its Effort to Strengthen Community; Awarded $10,000 Prize

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We recognize and congratulate this year’s Torchlight Prize winners not only for their innovative approaches to building their communities but also for their unwavering passion and commitment to address some of the most pressing issues facing our nation.

Somos Tuskaloosa, a grassroots organization formed to fight for immigrant justice on behalf of the Latino community in Tuscaloosa, was today announced as a winner of the 2013 Torchlight Prize, awarded each year to up to four community groups by the national nonprofit, Family Independence Initiative.

Somos Tuskaloosa was inspired by two major events that hit the immigrant community of Tuscaloosa on the same day in 2011: devastating tornado that destroyed 7,200 homes and businesses across six miles, and an anti-immigration bill (Alabama HB56), largely considered the most regressive immigration law in the country.

The compound effects of these natural and man-made attacks left Latinos in Tuscaloosa both devastated by tornado damage and afraid to seek out aid because of concerns about discrimination. In response, Latino immigrants, clergy, and community members came together to form Somos Tuskaloosa, to send a message of inclusion and push back against discrimination. The group provides a number of services to keep the community informed about the latest developments in laws and policies that affect immigrants, including leadership development training, “know your rights” workshops, and legal clinics.

The Torchlight Prize was established in 2012 to recognize and invest in self-organized groups of families, friends, and community members who have come together in meaningful ways to strengthen their communities. Each Torchlight Prize winner exemplifies Family Independence Initiative’s belief that powerful, sustainable, and relevant results can be created for families and communities when everyday people work together by pooling ideas, resources, and efforts to create positive change in their own communities.

“We recognize and congratulate this year’s Torchlight Prize winners not only for their innovative approaches to building their communities but also for their unwavering passion and commitment to address some of the most pressing issues facing our nation,” said Mauricio Lim Miller, founder and chief executive officer, Family Independence Initiative. “The spirit of community collaboration to drive impactful change is as alive today as ever, and these groups are perfect examples.”

Torchlight Prize winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of leaders from the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. The 2013 selection committee includes: Mauricio Lim Miller, founder and CEO, Family Independence Initiative; Michele Jolin, managing partner with America Achieves and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; Patty Stonsifer, president and CEO, Martha’s Table; Charles Ogletree, a Jesse Climenko professor of law at Harvard Law School and founder and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School; Wes Moore, youth advocate, author, and host of “Beyond Belief” on the Oprah Winfrey Network; and Daniel Boggan, former senior vice president and chief operating officer, National Collegiate Athletic Association.

To learn more about Somos Tuskaloosa and the other three winners of this year’s Torchlight Prize, visit http://www.TorchlightPrize.org. To request an interview with Somos Tuskaloosa, please contact Arron Neal at 213-568-3334 or arron(at)cfoxcommunications(dot)com.

ABOUT THE TORCHLIGHT PRIZE

Family Independence Initiative established the Torchlight Prize in 2012 to recognize and invest in groups of families, friends, and community members who have come together in meaningful ways to strengthen their communities. To be considered for the annual award, a group’s origins must be informal, and not initiated by an organization, nonprofit, or government program or service. In addition, winners must demonstrate a positive impact on their community, and they must live and act in the United States. The Prize is named after the Freedman’s Torchlight, one of the nation’s first black newspapers established in Weeksville, a self-sufficient and thriving community built by African Americans, for African Americans in New York before emancipation. Previous winners include Iu Mein Community, Club Social Infantil, and Black Dot Collective.

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Gwendolyn Ferreti
Somos Tuskaloosa
786-473-6068
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Arron Neal
C.Fox Communications
213-568-3334
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