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Jurors picked the 12 Finalists

On February 1, the selection committee gathered to choose the 12 "I am an American Immigrant"  finalists.   

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The  “I am an American Immigrant”  campaign continues with full steam.

Evaluating dozens of nominations received online, the selection committee of the “I am American Immigrant” project, organized by AL DÍA and sponsored by Cabrini University, chose last night 12 finalists.

Over the course of the past two months, AL DÍA readers have been submitting nominees, all immigrants making an important impact in their communities in Philadelphia. They ranged from CEOs, educators, writers to community activists, all of them American immigrants making a difference in Philadelphia through their work.

The tough job of selecting

It was far from easy for the project’s selection committee to choose the 12 finalists, but after 2 hours of deliberation, they agreed on the top 12.

The 3 members of the selection committee are Jennifer Rodriguez, CEO of the Philadelphia Hispanic of Commerce, Peter Gonzales, CEO of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, and Abel Rodríguez, Executive Director of the Center on Immigration of Cabrini University.

These are the 12 finalists voted by the jurors:   

  • Carmen Guerrero, an immigrant from México who provides assistance to fellow immigrant in her own house.

  • Cristina Martinez, an immigrant from México, who owns a restaurant in South Philly.

  • David Hurtado, an immigrant  from Bolivia, who is the Dean of Administration & Program Development at Esperanza College

  • Edgar Ramirez, an immigrant from México, Founder of Philatinos Radio.

  • Emma Restrepo, an immigrant from Colombia, Journalist and host of a weekly radio show focused on Latinas living in the U.S., Pra Ti Mujer

  • Brujo de la Mancha , an immigrant from México,  Founder of Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac, an organization with a mission to raise awareness of the history of indigenous peoples on this continent.

  • Liliana Velasquez, an immigrant from  Guatemala - College student and author of the book “Dreams and Nightmares,” which narrates her trajectory when coming to the U.S.  

  • Luis Mora, an immigrant from  Costa Rica - Founder of FINANTA, an organization that provides microcredit to the underserved Latino Business Community.

  • Manuel Portillo, an immigrant from Guatemala - Director of Community Engagement at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians.  

  • Nelly Jimenez-Aravalo, an immigrant from Venezuela - CEO of ACLAMO Family Centers, a non-profit organization for the Latinx community in Montgomery County.

  • Pedro Rodriguez, an immigrant from Dominican Republic - Director of the Office of Human Resources for the City of Philadelphia.

  • Sheila Quintana, an immigrant from México - With a long history of social engagement, Ms. Quintana has served as statewide co-coordinator with the Movement of Migrant Leaders in Pennsylvania.

What is next

The AL DÍA “I am an American Immigrant” campaign is designed to recognize the exceptional contributions that local immigrants make to the Philadelphia region. During the month of December and January, AL DÍA readers were able to nominate themselves or someone they knew for the recognition.

The call for nominations was closed on Thursday, February 1.

The jurors, gathered at AL DÍA conference room, deliberated for over 2 hours before choosing the 12 finalists.

But the campaign is far from over.

From now until May 1, the 12 finalists will be individually featured in our print edition and on our website.

Our readers will be able to get to know them, their stories and how they make such an important impact in our region.

In May the Selection Committee will meet again, this time to choose four honorees that will be finally recognized in an event scheduled for June, when Immigration month is celebrated throughout the country.

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