IYJL’s Third Anniversary Celebration: Three Years of Undocumented, Unafraid, Unapologetic.

On January 29th, the Immigrant Youth Justice League celebrated our third anniversary at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Here is a little on-line scrap-book from that day, including pictures, bios of the award winners, and IYJL’s message to our supporters. Enjoy! [You can still make a donation by clicking here]

More event pictures on Sarah Ji’s Facebook!
Music in Animoto background from event band Quinto Imperio. 

Message from IYJL:

Dear community –

Thank you for celebrating our third anniversary with us. Your support in the community and city streets, is what has allowed us to be here and to continue our work. We would like to extend a special thank you to you, if you have ever:

  • Been one of the speakers at a National Coming Out of the Shadows rally,
  • Been an organizer or member of IYJL
  • Given us advice or information about upcoming legislation and the political arena,
  • Donated or shared your talent, skills, time, resources, or money to support our work,
  • Attended a rally or event, and listened to our stories,
  • Shared your story with us, or with a larger audience,
  • Been arrested during a civil disobedience for immigrant rights,
  • Represented any one of us, in immigration court, criminal court, or other immigration proceedings,
  • Invited us to a meeting where we needed to be
  • Read our blogs.

We know that the coming year will be tough, but we want to celebrate victories for the immigrant community, and are excited to know that you will be standing right next to us.Thank you for your support,

The Immigrant Youth Justice League.

IYJL Special Recognition Awards

This year for the first time IYJL gave out four awards in recognition of the work of allies and supporters. The biographies and links to the websites of each of the four awardees is below.


Chicago Community and Worker’s Rights is an organization led by workers for workers, regardless of immigration status, dedicated to educating, building leadership and gathering resources. Their goal is to develop organizing tools and collective strategies of resistance as immigrant workers against abuse, and towards just living conditions. CCWR works mostly with undocumented and immigrant workers, and supports them in organizing an d empowering themselves. We see CCWR as a sister organization, embodying the same spirit of people organizing and speaking for themselves as workers and immigrants, of creative and strategic resistance, of creating our own resources, and working from the ground up.

Quinto Imperio is a local “cumbia hibrida” grop from the back of the yards and south side of Chicago. The group was originally formed in 2003 by four of the now eight members. Their repertoire includes Cronica Inmigrante and Once Upon A Dream, two songs that highlight the different experiences of immigrants in the U.S., emphasizing the importance of fighting and organizing for immigrant rights. The members have also been supportive to immigrant rights movements and IYJL, with Edy Dominguez, one of the co-founders being a participant of the second civil disobedience by undocumented students in 2010 in Washington D.C.. They also are an integral part of organizing undocumented immigrants in Back of the Yards and local churches.

Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH) is the youth-led organizing council of the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC). FYSH provides a safe space for high school and college students to explore their identities and empower themselves through political education and activism. FYSH has taken a leadership in campaigns for the DREAM Act, workplace justice, and human trafficking. FYSH combines art with activism to engage young people through spoken word and poongmul, traditional Korean percussion. Their annual showcases Coffeehouse and Uprise bring youth together to share their talents and raise funds for KRCC’s DREAM scholarship award for immigrant youth entering college.

Nilda Flores-Gonzalez  is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies. She studies race and ethnicity, identity, education, organizing and Latino communities in the U.S. Flores-Gonzalez has been an active supporter of IYJL since our founding, both in academia and in the community. She was key in getting nation-wide support for IYJL’s deportation campaigns in 2009 and 2010, and has documented the stories of IYJL members as part of her work on youth activism. She is co-editor of Marcha: Latino Chicago and the Immigrant Rights Movement, and is co-director of Labor Disruptions and Alternative Employment Strategies Among Immigrant Women in the U.S., a book project examining the intersections of race, gender, labor and migration.

Amalia Pallares is Associate Professor of Political Science and Latin American and Latino Studies. She studies social movements, ethnicity and race in Latin America and in the U.S, focusing on the relationship between political activism and identity formation among newly politicized groups. Pallares has been a supporter of IYJL since our founding, attending with equal diligence political meetings, rallies, speak outs, and marches. She has also help document IYJL’s work in academia. She is co-editor of Marcha: Latino Chicago and the Immigrant Rights Movement and is currently developing a manuscript on the framing of the family separation issue in the immigrant rights movement. She has also been supportive of undocumented students writing about and analyzing our own political histories