John Backer spent the first few of his 61 years with Church World Service (CWS) waiting by the piers in New York City. The reason? To help new refugee arrivals from World War II-ravaged Europe get to Penn Station to start the train trip to their new resettlement destinations in cities and towns across America.
CWS will honor the late Mr. Backer, who died in 2011 after six decades as a staffer and volunteer at the New York-based global humanitarian agency, on Oct. 25 at the Museum of the City of New York, where it will present the First Annual John Backer Award to two honorees, who, like Mr. Backer, are outstanding advocates for immigrants’ and refugees’ rights: broadcaster Tony Hernandez and immigrant rights’ advocate Myrna Orozco.
Tony Hernandez is Co-Founder & CEO of Latino Broadcasting Company and son of a Cuban refugee resettled by CWS. He lives in Miami, Fla.
Myrna Orozco is an Immigrant Rights Advocate, particularly on the DREAM Act. She serves as an advisor to the organization United We Dream, and works with the Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance (KSMDA). She lives near Kansas City.
The 7 p.m. cocktail reception will feature prominent speakers from New York City and beyond, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Immigration Commissioner Fatima Shama who will speak about immigration issues from a local and national perspective.