On March 14, over 60 friends and supporters gathered to support the Feerick Center’s Friend Raiser. The annual event helps to raise funds to cover the costs of service trips to the Southern Texas border, which enable law student, alumni, staff, and other volunteers to serve through the Dilley Pro Bono Project. Originally, the event’s organizing committee co-chairs and members had set a goal of raising $25,000 and 75 gifts. In total, the event raised $47,266 through 183 gifts, which surpassed the dollar goal by 89% and the gift participation goal by 144%.
The Dilley Pro Bono Project provides limited-scope assistance to asylum-seeking women with children who are detained in the nation’s largest immigration detention center and who are in expedited removal proceedings. The vast majority of asylum-seekers are Central American women fleeing gang and gender-based violence. Volunteers provide know-your-rights presentations and help prepare asylum seekers for “credible and reasonable fear interviews” with asylum officers.
Those in attendance heard a video recording from keynote speaker Sarah Stillman, a renowned and leading journalist on the Central American refugee crisis who is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. They also heard her remarks read by former Feerick Center Dean’s Fellow Anna Stallmann ’13. (Unfortunately, Ms. Stillman had an emergency and was unable to attend in person.)
Key to the success of the Friend Raiser is the center’s partnership with the student-led Immigration Advocacy Project, a group that is part of the Law School’s Public Interest Resource Center. Invaluable leadership and support were also provided by the event’s organizing committee, chaired by Marisa Menna ’13 and Andrea Vazquez ’12—both former New York Women Bar Association Foundation fellows at the Feerick Center and longtime CLARO student volunteers and leaders.
The Feerick Center expresses its deep gratitude to Marisa and Andrea; Emerson Argueta ’18 and Alex Mintz ’18 (2016–2017 co-chairs of the Immigration Advocacy Project); Jessie Boas ’19 and Ruhi Behal ’19 (2017–2018 co-chairs of the Immigration Advocacy Project); and to all of the members of the 2018 Friend Raiser organizing committee for their efforts in making the event a phenomenal success. Special thanks as well to Diana Imbert ’19, our inspirational student speaker; Anna Stallmann ’13, our amazing alumni speaker; and Rick Turk, the Law School’s director of development, who provides extraordinary energy and focus to all of the center’s fundraising efforts.