Identity Celebrates 20 Years of Helping Hispanic Youth
Identity, Inc. held its 20th anniversary celebration on Sept. 26 at the Universities at Shady Grove. Identity assists more than 3,000 in-school and out-of-school youth and their families who live in high-poverty areas of Montgomery County and are at-risk for poor academic and economic life outcomes. The group also empowers Latino youth to reach their highest potential and work towards a successful transition into adulthood.
The celebration honored Candace Kattar, Cecilia Muñoz and Neighbors Rising for their work in assisting these young people and their families. More information about the honorees is below.
The Teresa Rios Wright Award for Excellence in Service to Latino Youth was given to Candace Kattar, who has been an advocate and visionary for the local Latino community for 30 years. She worked as an immigration attorney with the firm Maggio + Kattar, and later at La Clínica del Pueblo. She co-founded Identity with Diego Uriburu in 1998, served as its executive director until 2011, and as senior program director until her retirement earlier this year. Named for local educator Teresa Wright, this award recognizes someone who has made a direct and significant difference in the lives of Latino youth.
The Identity Justice Award was given to Cecilia Muñoz, who was President Obama’s chief domestic policy advisor when he signed DACA and was the director of his White House Domestic Policy Council for five years. In 2000, she was named a MacArthur Fellow for her work on civil rights and immigration. She is now vice president for Public Interest Technology and Local Initiatives for New America. The award recognizes leaders who challenge injustices and work to improve systems on behalf of Latino youth and their families.
Neighbors Rising received the Identity Champion Award, which recognizes those who enable Identity youth and their families to thrive, and who stoke the potential of the community with the fuel of support and opportunity. Neighbors Rising is a non-political response to anti-immigrant and anti-other sentiments that are spreading across communities. Neighbors Rising encourages collaborative and individual support of local nonprofits, such as Identity.