HIAS Pennsylvania Hosts Annual Golden Door Awards, Honors America’s Diversity

Golden Door Awards

PHILADELPHIA, PA — On Wednesday, April 28th, 2021, HIAS Pennsylvania will host its annual fundraising gala, the 2021 Golden Door Awards: A Diverse America is a Strong America. This year’s Golden Door Awards event will honor U.S. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, the Refugee Access Center at Snyder Church, and refugees Ali Abdalstar and Lara Ali.

At the Golden Door Awards, HIAS Pennsylvania honors illustrious Philadelphians who have done outstanding work to create a safe and welcoming community for immigrants in the Greater Philadelphia area. This year, HIAS PA is proud to honor Representative Mary Gay Scanlon for her outstanding leadership towards ensuring the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness program was extended, and support for the immigrants in the community. Representative Scanlon has participated in numerous immigration oversight efforts addressing children being detained at the border, the prior administration’s Muslim Ban, the extreme backlog of cases at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the need for increased resources for immigration courts at the US-Mexico border. A vocal supporter of providing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelan immigrants–driven by the vibrant Venezuelan community in her district–Representative Scanlon has spoken on and supported the DREAM Act and TPS in Congress, and co-sponsored the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.

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HIAS Pennsylvania will also honor the Refugee Access Center at Snyder Church for their continual support of refugees and immigrants in South Philly throughout the pandemic and beyond; and Lara Arif and Ali Abdulsattar, former HIAS PA clients who have become leaders in their community, working within the Philadelphia School District to make it welcoming to immigrants and refugees. The Abdalstar family came to the United States on a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) after their lives were targeted due to Ali’s work with the United States military in Iraq; there are still many Iraqis who have worked with the US military who are still waiting to come to the United States.

Streaming live on their website at hiaspa.org/goldendoor2021, the Golden Door Awards will include a speech by Representative Scanlon, video interviews with the honorees, and breakout rooms to learn about some of the most pressing current events in immigration from HIAS Pennsylvania staff, including immigrant youth crossing the border, educational issues immigrants have faced during the pandemic, and DACA.

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Executive Director Cathryn Miller-Wilson emphasizes, “Our annual gala is a critical moment to come together as a community to celebrate the work of welcoming which acknowledges all that immigrants bring to our community. We look forward to this year’s virtual gathering to celebrate the work that Representative Scanlon, the Refugee Access Center, and the Abdalstars do in order to create a warm, welcoming new home for immigrants in Philadelphia.”

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