Painesville, Ohio (September 29, 2014) – HOLA Ohio, a grassroots organization that focuses on community organizing, advocacy and civic engagement, was recently announced as one of four winners of Family Independence Initiative’s 3rd Annual Torchlight Prize. HOLA Ohio will receive a $10,000 prize over two years that recognizes and rewards their initiative to improve and strengthen their community.
“We are pleased to announce HOLA Ohio among the 2014 Torchlight Prize winners, and we applaud them for their unwavering commitment to supporting families in their community,” said Mauricio Lim Miller founder, president, and chief executive officer, Family Independence Initiative.
HOLA Ohio began as a small, informal group of northeast Ohio Latino immigrants looking for ways to protect themselves and their families from destructive policies. It has grown into a movement encompassing four chapters with hundreds of members who meet regularly to create strategies to address issues that impact their lives and to build bridges with policy makers and the greater community.
HOLA members have visited their Congressional delegations (both in-district and in Washington, D.C.), local officials, law enforcement, and others to create their own successful grassroots campaigns. Their work has resulted in changes in immigration policy, both locally and nationally, and saved many families from separation due to deportation. In the process, its members have been empowered through political education and civic engagement, after previously living in fear in the margins of society.
“We are excited and honored to receive this recognition,” said HOLA Ohio’s Executive Director Veronica Dahlberg. “Because the work we do is collaborative with the people in our communities, this award is a powerful validation for everyone involved, and will help us continue to move forward.”
The Torchlight Prize spotlights the resourcefulness, initiative, and wisdom demonstrated by self-organized groups of families, friends, and neighbors in the nation’s least resourced communities. In addition to bringing attention to the work of winning groups, the Torchlight Prize aims to encourage others to invest in similar resident-led initiatives to amplify their impact.
“Torchlight Prize winners are a small sample of the powerful work that’s happening in communities all across the country,” said Mia Birdsong, vice president, Family Independence Initiative. “They exemplify the opportunities that exist to invest in and bolster what’s already working. It’s these efforts, as much as any policy or program, that can address the issues we all care about and fuel social and economic mobility in America.”
For more information about HOLA Ohio, visit www.holatoday.org or follow them on Twitter @HOLAOhio.
A complete list and overview of 2014 Torchlight Prize winners is available at http://www.torchlightprize.org/winners.
ABOUT THE TORCHLIGHT PRIZE
The Torchlight Prize was established in 2012 by Family Independence Initiative as a way to recognize and reward groups of everyday people for their efforts to strengthen their communities. To be considered for one of up to four annual $10,000 awards, nominated groups must be able to demonstrate a positive impact on their community. In addition, groups must live and act in the United States, and their origins must be informal, and not initiated by an organization, nonprofit, or government program or service. The Torchlight Prize is named after the Freedman’s Torchlight, one of the nation’s first black newspapers, established in Weeksville, New York – a self-¬sufficient and thriving community built by African Americans, for African Americans before emancipation. For more information visit www.torchlightprize.org.