Give Liberty a Hand 2018: MIRA’s fundraising gala
Give Liberty a Hand is MIRA’s biggest fundraiser of the year and our celebration of champions for immigrants and refugees in our Commonwealth – leaders in government, business and advocacy who “give liberty a hand” by working to advance immigrant rights and integration.
Hundreds of MIRA members, partners and friends joined us for an inspiring evening to support MIRA’s work across Massachusetts.
Why Give Liberty a Hand?
Family-based migration. Asylum and refugee resettlement. DACA and Temporary Protected Status. Even visas for high-skilled workers. Everything that makes America a land of hope and opportunity is under attack, and only we can protect it. MIRA is on the front lines, fighting tirelessly for the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees. This gala was a chance to honor those who are fighting alongside us and championing our communities – from Capitol Hill, to corporate board rooms, to the grassroots. It is also a vital source of funding for MIRA at this time of enormous need. Your support will help us ensure we have the resources to fulfill our urgent mission.
Geralde Gabeau, Immigrant Family Services Institute and Haitian Americans United: watch video excerpt
Presented by Marty Martinez, Chief of Health and Human Services, City of Boston and Marion Davis, Communications Director, MIRA Coalition
Semyon Dukach & Eveline Buchatskiy, One Way Ventures
Presented by Jeffrey Goldman, Chair, Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants
2018 Honoree: U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey
A proud descendant of Irish immigrants, U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey has been in public service since 1973 – first as a member of the Massachusetts House, then for 37 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and since 2013, as a U.S. Senator. He has built a reputation as a consumer champion and a national leader on energy, environmental protection and telecommunications policy. He is also a steadfast and impassioned advocate for immigrants and refugees on Capitol Hill.
“Dreamers” know Senator Markey for his forceful criticism of the termination of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and for his strong support of the DREAM Act to provide them with a pathway to citizenship. Haitians, Salvadorans and others with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) know him as an original cosponsor of the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act, which would allow them to apply for lawful permanent residency in the TPS section.
Senator Markey also organized a letter, signed by several of his colleagues, questioning the basis for ending TPS for Haitians, and calling on the Trump administration to reinstate protections. Senator Markey has been equally passionate about decrying the Trump administration’s travel ban, calling it “un-American and in direct opposition to everything for which our Founding Fathers fought.” He has objected to the record-low refugee resettlement cap set for fiscal 2018, as well as the egregiously slow pace at which refugees are being screened before admission. And he has penned letters to various federal agencies questioning immigration enforcement activities and practices, including the separation of families at the border, the detention of pregnant women, and the proposed elimination of the Legal Orientation Program.
In all he does, Senator Markey embodies the values we want to see in all our leaders: fairness, honesty, compassion and a profound sense of human decency. He listens intently, he makes sure he knows the facts and key policy issues, and then he works tirelessly to effect change.
For always standing up for immigrants, refugees, and all the people of Massachusetts – especially the most vulnerable among us – we are extremely proud to honor Senator Markey tonight.
2018 Honoree: Dr. Geralde Gabeau
Geralde Gabeau is founder and executive director of the Immigrant Family Services Institute (IFSI-USA), in Roslindale, and a linchpin of the Haitian community in Greater Boston. In the past year, as the lives of thousands of Haitians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in Massachusetts have been thrown into turmoil, she has fought tirelessly to ensure they can remain in the U.S.
Born and raised in Haiti, she grew up in a large, joyful family where there was always an extra plate at the table for someone from the neighborhood who would otherwise go hungry. At the age of 12, she started tutoring children who were not being schooled, and at 18, she formed the Association for the Development of Brotherly Love, which still serves over 500 children per year today.
While studying for her master’s degree in public health at Boston University, she developed a vision for what would become IFSI. She wanted to give immigrant families a place that they could call home, where they could get help navigating their way as new residents. At IFSI, children learn and grow in a warm, welcoming environment that feels like an extended family. The nonprofit focuses on immigrants who have been in the U.S. for less than 10 years and is built on a “village model,” integrating children, parents, grandparents and other stakeholders in its programs. It also supports community leaders, helping them to advocate for immigrants and strengthen their organizations.
Dr. Gabeau also works closely with Haitian Americans United, Inc., and other Haitian community leaders to ensure that immigrants know their rights, have access to much-needed legal expertise, and have their voices heard by federal, state and local officials.
She lives in Boston with her husband, Evans, their daughters, Gevaniah and Angie, and their son, Gevans.
For her indomitable spirit and her ability to inspire and unify even in the toughest of times, we are proud to honor Geralde Gabeau tonight, and to fight alongside her. Men ampil chay pa lou!
2018 Honorees: Semyon Dukach and Eveline Buchatskiy
Semyon Dukach and Eveline Buchatskiy launched One Way Ventures last year to invest in immigrant tech entrepreneurs. Their work is driven by the belief that all people are entitled to equal opportunity, regardless of where they were born; that immigration is a formative, empowering and entrepreneurial experience; and that the resilience and grit of immigrant founders drive extraordinary results.
Their motto is “for immigrants by immigrants.” Semyon came to the U.S. as a refugee from the Soviet Union, and became a tech entrepreneur and angel investor in Boston after earning his master’s degree from MIT. Eveline left her native Brazil at the age of 19 and lived in the U.S. and Luxembourg before settling in Ukraine. She expected to spend the rest of her life there, but the Russian invasion and war forced her to leave with her husband and children.
In Ukraine, she had launched Eastlabs, a prominent accelerator that jump-started tech entrepreneurship in the region. “It was devastating to see everything shattered almost overnight,” she recalls. “I came to Boston determined to help Ukrainian tech entrepreneurs succeed globally and overcome this difficult period. From that point, the scope expanded to invest in talent from anywhere, who has gone through the formative unique experience of leaving their home country to innovate, build, and generate wealth and social well-being in the U.S. So One Way Ventures was born.”
Prior to starting their fund, Semyon and Eveline had worked together at Techstars Boston, where they sourced, invested and nurtured over 50 prominent local and international startups. They make a formidable team: Semyon has been supporting startups in Boston for many years, with angel investments in more than 100 companies, including Quanergy, Amino Apps and Wanderu; he has also co-founded several companies. Before starting Eastlabs, Eveline had served as CEO of the media company Ekonomika and the clean-tech company APCT; she has also worked in the oil and gas sector.
For recognizing the power of immigrant entrepreneurship, and nurturing global talent in Massachusetts with skill, generosity and grace, we are thrilled to honor Semyon Dukach and Eveline Buchatskiy tonight.