For Immediate Release:
Contact: Mireya Reith, 479-871-2168
White House Names Arkansas Immigrant Leader
a Cesar Chavez Champion of Change
Director of Arkansas United Community Coalition to be recognized today at a White House ceremony
FAYETTEVILLE, AR – Tomorrow, March 26, the White House will recognize L. Mireya Reith, co-founder and executive director of the Arkansas United Community Coalition (AUCC) as a Cesar Chavez Champion of Change. The White House honors Americans who have dedicated their lives to improving the lives of others at the local, state or regional level and are making positive change in their communities. AUCC believes this is a well-deserved recognition for Ms. Reith, and is proud to be a conduit for this national recognition of work with Arkansas immigrants.
With the support of more than 300 grassroots volunteers and 23 community organizers, “Change Agents”, Reith directs AUCC’s programs that support immigrants’ rights and immigrant integration in Arkansas.
“It is truly humbling to be recognized as a Champion of Change and bear the banner of the inspirational American leader, Cesar Chavez,” said Reith. “Arkansas boasts a strong history of support to our immigrants, and we welcome this opportunity to recognize the collaborative advances of our great state in inclusion and acceptance.”
Most recently, AUCC volunteers have:
- spearheaded a network committed to nonpartisan, immigrant voter engagement, who, contributed to 20,000 new immigrant voters in Arkansas over a four-year period and hosted group citizenship workshops that resulted in over 400 new citizenship applications last year;
- developed a working group of 23 organizations – representing Latino, African-American, LGBTQ, women and faith communities – to advance civil rights accountability in Arkansas;
- supported local DREAMer organizations in seeking state and federal policy solutions for undocumented youth, including statewide summits, an in-state tuition equity bill campaign and an educational town hall with Arkansas’ flagship university; and
- lifted up Arkansas immigrant voices to influence national conversations around comprehensive immigration reform, hosting 8 immigration town halls with 900 participants in February and planning a trip to D.C. and 7 local vigils on April 10th as part of the Alliance for Citizenship’s national day of action.
“AUCC is the leading statewide advocate for immigrants’ rights in Arkansas,“ said Dr. Sherece Y. West-Scantlebury, president and CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, an AUCC donor. “We are thrilled that AUCC is being recognized as a national leader and leading voice on immigration policy and advocacy.” WRF’s report A Profile of Immigrants in Arkansas 2013 recently identified that Arkansas had the fourth-fastest-growing immigrant population nationwide between 2000 and 2010.
“Under the leadership of Ms. Reith, we’re building leadership that will truly enable Arkansas to achieve its future potential,” said Reverend Stephen Copley, AUCC Board of Directors Chair in Little Rock.
Reith is also the first Latina and youngest person ever appointed by the Governor to the Arkansas State Board of Education, where she uses her own vote to ensure that all Arkansas students have access to a quality education.
The Cesar Chavez Champions of Change award will be streamlined live on Tuesday, March 26 at 10:00AM EST at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live .
Reith’s full biography and personal blog will be available on the White House website after the event at: www.whitehouse.gov/champions .
Arkansas United Community Coalition (AUCC) is an immigrant rights nonprofit organization founded in 2010 that works in over 15 communities throughout Arkansas to empower immigrants through organizing, coalition building and the promotion of their civic engagement. AUCC supports immigrants and other multicultural communities to be agents of positive change in Arkansas. www.arkansascoalition.org