Temple Law networks volunteers, former EILS Executive Director Mary Clark, HIAS former Executive Director Judith Bernstein-Baker (Photo: Jesús Rincón)

Last May 18th from at Esperanza Arts Center’s Gran Salón, Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS), a leading immigration legal services non-profit in North Philadelphia with more than a decade of service, hosted their third annual fundraising event, Celebrating Hope for Immigrants: A Brighter Future, to highlighted the bright futures of immigrants in Philadelphia; whose dreams to be fully rooted within the communities, are supported by champions and donors throughout the city.

Each year, EILS works with many people to navigate the citizenship and residency legal processes with comprehensive services that eliminate barriers to a full life in the United States, from referrals to language support to representation. These services afford vital benefits; the ability to be with loved ones; extended support networks; and a sense of belonging.

 Located in Hunting Park, EILS has served more than 2,000 people. Founded out of a commitment to strengthening the Hispanic community, the organization serves primarily low-income and Spanish-speaking immigrants, regardless of national origin.

During the event, EILS recognized two individuals for their influential work to improve the lives of immigrants in our region, Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Temple University Beasley School of Law, and Amy Eusebio, City of Philadelphia, Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Jaya Ramji-Nogales, who is Associate Dean of Research at Temple Law, and specializes in immigration law, thanked Esperanza for the theme of “Celebrating Hope for Immigrants.”

“It is very exciting to see a former student, Anu Thomas, Esq. become Executive Director. EILS located here at Esperanza in the heart of the Latino community meets clients where they are. That is so important.” She said.

Amy Eusebio also recognized for her contributions to the City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs, commented that she is “proud to advance the mission and the journey of justice. “We want to make sure our community is truly thriving”. She also thanked everyone for “supporting the mission of Esperanza”.

Hosted by retired 6abc reporter Dann Cuellar, the program also featured a special performance by Interminable, a Latin fusion group.

Yeraldyn originally from the Dominican Republic and a new citizen who is transforming her community in the field of early childhood education, shared her story on video.

From delicious food by Ivette’s Kitchen to a moving performance by local Latin fusion group Interminable, to a dynamic text to pledge, it was an incredible evening that raised approximately $58,000 for EILS

For Anu Thomas, these resources mean many more stories of hope to come. “As we shared during the event, your support ensures that EILS can continue to provide essential, accessible legal services completely free of charge- demonstrating a deep commitment to providing services to those who need it most,” she said.

Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS), a non-profit 501(c)3, was established in 2009 with the mission to provide direct legal services, advocacy, and community education for immigrants and their families so they can contribute to and participate in U.S. society. EILS delivers legal services, including naturalization, green card renewal, and applications, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), asylum and family petitions, and humanitarian visas, as well as educational workshops and referrals.

EILS was established by Esperanza as part of its mission to strengthen Hispanic communities and a commitment to forging an “opportunity community” in North Philadelphia – a place where all can thrive. Visit esperanza.us/eils/ for more information.


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