Give Liberty a Hand 2019
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.
More than 400 MIRA members, partners and friends joined us at the Fairmong Copley Plaza Hotel on June 6, 2019, 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 is 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 helps ensure we have the resources to fulfill our urgent mission.
2019 Honoree: Mohamad Ali
Mohamad Ali is President and Chief Executive Officer of Carbonite, a publicly traded cloud company providing data protection and cybersecurity for global businesses.
Born in Guyana to parents from poor rural families, Mr. Ali came to the U.S. when he was 11. In New York, the family built a new life, and in 1991, he became a U.S. citizen. By then, he was a student at Stanford University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and a master’s degree in electrical engineering.
Mr. Ali found success in technology, serving as Vice-President at IBM, President at Avaya, and as Chief Strategy Officer at Hewlett Packard. He has led Carbonite since December 2014. In 2018, he was named CEO of the Year by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council.
Mr. Ali is also a champion for social justice, focusing his personal philanthropy on improving access to education for underprivileged children. He serves on the board of directors of Oxfam America, and he and his family have opened gender violence prevention centers in El Salvador and Guatemala, built girls’ schools in Somalia and Pakistan, and established an arts scholarship for children here in Massachusetts.
Speaking at a naturalization ceremony at the JFK Presidential Library in 2017, he said immigrants who have endured hardship recognize “what a gem America is,” and want to make the most of it.
“You will work hard, study hard, create businesses, create jobs, and build our American economy, because you know what life is like elsewhere and you chose America,” he said. “It is from the best of humanity, immigrants to this land, that America is built. You have been our nation’s strength and you will continue to be. Your citizenship is our badge of honor and our hope.”
For showing the American Dream is alive and well, and generously expanding opportunities for others, we are proud to honor Mohamad Ali at Give Liberty a Hand 2019.
2019 Honoree: Congresswoman Katherine Clark
Immigrant constituents can count on Congresswoman Katherine Clark to truly listen, provide helpful insights and advice, and fight for them – on Capitol Hill, in her public advocacy, and behind the scenes.
She has represented the Fifth District of Massachusetts since winning a special election in December 2013. She had previously served as a state senator, state representative, general counsel for the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services, and policy chief for the state attorney general, and always stood out for her caring and support for immigrants.
On Capitol Hill, she quickly gained the respect of her peers, who last fall elected her as Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, making her the sixth-highest-ranking Democrat in the 116th Congress.
In order to better understand the perspectives of Dreamers, Congresswoman Clark organized roundtable discussions with DACA students at MassBay Community College and Tufts University. She has also met with TPS advocates and joined them at several rallies, and she is a cosponsor of the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), to provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers and TPS holders.
Last summer, at the height of the “zero-tolerance” policy and family separations, she visited a detention center at the U.S.-Mexico border. She successfully intervened to reunite a Guatemalan constituent in Framingham with her 7-year-old daughter after a separation of more than 50 days. She is cosponsoring the Keep Families Together Act, to prohibit any future family separations, and she also cosponsored and voted for H.J. Res. 46 to block President Trump’s emergency declaration on the southern border.
In addition, she is cosponsoring the NO BAN Act, to repeal President Trump’s Muslim ban, and the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, to eliminate per-country caps on employment-based green cards and raise the per-country limit for family sponsorships.
For always being there for immigrants, and for her exemplary leadership, we are proud to honor Congresswoman Katherine Clark at Give Liberty a Hand 2019.
2019 Honoree: José A. Palma
José Palma is co-founder of the Massachusetts TPS Committee, Coordinator of the National TPS Alliance, and the most prominent voice for Temporary Protected Status holders in America today.
Born in Usulután, El Salvador, to parents who had lost everything in the civil war, he came to the U.S. in 1998. Hurricane Mitch struck El Salvador that year, and a devastating earthquake followed in 2001. Recognizing how unbearable conditions had become, the U.S. government granted TPS to Salvadorans.
Mr. Palma was 22. Soon after, he moved to Massachusetts with his wife, Maira. Every 18 months, their TPS was renewed, and they grew deeper roots in the U.S. They now have four children, all U.S. citizens. He graduated from North Shore Community College, with distinction, and got involved in advocacy through the Student Immigrant Movement and Centro Presente. He served as political and organizing director for Neighbor-To-Neighbor from 2013 to 2016. He was a paralegal at Justice At Work, a legal firm specializing in worker rights, when the Trump administration began to phase out TPS.
Determined to lead the fight for their own future, Mr. Palma and fellow TPS holders formed the Massachusetts TPS Committee and joined advocates from across the U.S. in the National TPS Alliance. Since then, they have worked tirelessly to protect TPS holders through litigation, public outreach, grassroots organizing, and intensive advocacy at the state and federal levels
“The social fabric of the United States of America is made up of workers, teachers, scientists, business owners, families and more – this is who TPS holders are,” Mr. Palma testified before the House Judiciary Committee in March. “TPS holders and our families genuinely love this country, our home, and we have contributed and rooted in our communities for many years. Our lives are not temporary. Our lives are very real.”
We wholeheartedly agree. We are proud to support the TPS Committee and to honor José Palma for his extraordinary leadership at Give Liberty a Hand 2019.