The Helping Hands CampaignA Call for Unity in Support of our Immigrant Neighbors









Standing with Immigrants: Champions of Change


With the support of many, Ayuda has helped more than 150,000 immigrants access justice, stop abuses, find safety, heal from trauma, and overcome language isolation. Since 1973, Ayuda has been a pioneer in providing holistic, culturally and linguistically appropriate legal, social, language access to meet the emerging needs of immigrants in D.C., Virginia and Maryland.

This year, in a time of deep division and isolation, Ayuda has stepped up in news ways to meet the increased needs of our immigrant neighbors. Because of the support of our donors, we have been able to sustain and expand our critical services during the pandemic, and our doors have remained open.

Ayuda’s clients may have limited incomes and language skills, but they have an unyielding desire to do better for themselves and their families, to share their heritage with joy and pride, and to give of themselves as members of our communities.

This is what Standing with Immigrants is all about – supporting our immigrant neighbors’ unwavering strength and resilience, and honor those who have contributed to upholding our mission.

We will always be there for immigrants, and ask you to join us on May 6, 2021 as we honor those who have contributed greatly to the communities we serve, and help to welcome new supporters to our mission.

The funds raised through the generosity of our supporters will enable Ayuda to sustain and expand its vital legal, social and language access services, and will directly impact the lives of low-income immigrants in D.C., Virginia and Maryland.


Standing with Immigrants: Awards Program and Reception


For the safety and health of everyone, the 2021 event will be VIRTUAL!


Thursday, May 6, 2021

6:00pm to 7:00pm

Event Sponsorship Levels & Benefits

Standing with Immigrants is a major signature fundraising event for Ayuda. To enable Ayuda to sustain and expand its important legal, social and language access services, we invite you to join Standing with Immigrants as a sponsor. The funds raised through your generosity will directly impact the lives of vulnerable, low-income immigrants in Washington, D.C, Virginia and Maryland.

Please submit a sponsorship form to Laura Trask at [email protected] To view full list of sponsorship opportunities or make a donation please visit here.

2021 Event Sponsors


 Realizing Dreams Sponsors

 Rebuilding Faith Sponsors

 Protecting Rights Sponsors

Social Impact Sponsors

 Underwriting Sponsors

Friends of Ayuda Circle

  • American University, Washington College of Law

  • Calderon Seguin LLP

  • Cresa Real Estate

  • Crowell & Moring LLP

  • Covington & Burling LLP


  • Deepa Acharya

  • Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

  • Keler & Kershow, PLLC

  • Larry Schneider & Susan Ness

  • Lori Faeth

  • Mark Michael & Maggie Prieto

  • Thompson Hine LLP

  • Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation

2021 Award Recipients

2021 Lifetime Legacy Award

Matt Kelly, CEO of JBG SMITH

Ayuda is proud to honor Matt Kelly with Ayuda’s 2021 Lifetime Legacy Award. Matt Kelly’s corporate leadership has reshaped the future of the Washington, D.C. region. Additionally, his past volunteer service on Ayuda Board of Directors and consistent philanthropic giving has shown his staunch commitment to our mission.

Matt Kelly is the CEO of JBG SMITH and a member of the board of trustees. Prior to the formation of JBG SMITH, Matt served as a Managing Partner of the JBG Companies and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and Investment Committee. He previously was co-head of JBG’s Investments Group and was primarily responsible for investment strategy and the investment and acquisition activity of the JBG Investment Funds. Prior to joining the JBG Companies in 2004, he was a co-founder of ODAC Inc., a media software company, and worked in private equity and investment banking with Thomas H. Lee Partners in Boston and Goldman Sachs, & Co in New York.

2021 Pro Bono Service Award 

Cooper Rekrut

Ayuda is proud to honor Cooper Rekrut with Ayuda’s 2021 Pro Bono Service Award. Cooper has gone above and beyond in service of Ayuda and our clients. Beyond committing a considerable amount of time to our cases and taking on complex cases, Cooper has been an ambassador for Ayuda, helping to advocate for our interests internally and externally.

Cooper Rekrut is an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins, where he focuses on complex commercial litigation and securities class action defense.  In addition to providing direct pro bono legal representation to several Ayuda-referred clients, Cooper acts as Latham’s “liaison” to Ayuda, helping to staff Ayuda-referred client matters with pro bono Latham attorneys, and coordinating Latham attorneys’ participation in immigration clinic events.

Click here to read more about Cooper.

2021 Pro Bono Impact Award

DLA Piper

Ayuda is proud to honor DLA Piper with Ayuda’s 2021 Pro Bono Impact Award. Ayuda’s Pro Bono Award recognizes a firm or company that has made a special and significant contribution to Ayuda’s legal pro bono program in the past year. DLA Piper has demonstrated a staunch commitment to Ayuda’s mission and clients through extraordinary pro bono representation as part of Ayuda’s pro bono program.

Click here to read more about DLA Piper’s Pro Bono Program

Event Emcee


Maria Cardona

Maria Cardona

Head of Dewey Square Group’s Public Affairs Practice and founder of Latinovations

Maria Cardona has more than two decades of experience in the community affairs, government, politics, and public relations arenas. Recognized among the most influential Latinos in the country, and as one of the most sought-after communications and media strategists, Maria Cardona is a Principal at the Dewey Square Group (DSG) and Founder of Latinovations, the Latino Strategies Practice of DSG. She is a seasoned Democratic Strategist and communications profession who currently serves as a CNN and CNN Español Political Commentator as well as the host of the MARIA! Show on El Rey Network. As the head of DSG’s Public Affairs Practice, she combines public policy, communications, coalition building, constituency outreach, government relations, traditional and new media at this premier national public affairs firm.

Prior to signing on exclusively with CNN, Maria was a frequent political commentator on MSNBC, Fox, Univision and Telemundo, appearing as a public policy expert and providing political analysis on all manner of national issues. During the 2008 Democratic primary election, Maria was senior adviser and spokesperson to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and served on the campaign’s Hispanic outreach team. During the 2008 general election, Maria was a key surrogate for the Obama for America campaign, a role she revisited in the 2012 presidential election.

Previously, Maria was a senior vice president for the New Democrat Network, and before that, the communications director for the Democratic National Committee. During the Clinton administration, Maria served as chief spokesperson at the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the U.S. Department of Justice after serving as Press Secretary for the Department of Commerce.

Keynote Speaker and

Champion of Justice Awardee

Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38)

Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38)

U.S. House of Representatives

Linda T. Sánchez, a former labor lawyer and lifelong progressive, has devoted her career to helping working people get ahead: advocating for working families, improving America’s education system, and bringing jobs to Southern California.

Sánchez was born in Orange, California, the sixth of seven children, to immigrant parents from Mexico. Growing up in a proud Latino household, Sánchez’s parents inspired her to take advantage of the opportunities they never had.

Sánchez currently represents California’s 38th congressional district on the House Committee on Ways and Means, where she advocates for the protection of Social Security and Medicare, fairness for U.S. workers and businesses in trade agreements, and an even-playing field for the middle class through tax code reform.

 Prior to her service in the House of Representatives, Sánchez was an attorney practicing appellate law, civil rights, and employment law. Sánchez worked for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 441 and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) as a compliance officer on public works and prevailing wage projects. In 2000, she was elected Executive Director of the Orange County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. In the 114th Congress, Sánchez served as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and in the current Congress, she chairs the CHC’s Immigration Task Force, charged with reviewing our nation’s outdated immigration laws.

 Sánchez has made history several times while serving in Congress. She and her sister Loretta, who served in the House from 1997 to 2017, became the first women of any relation to serve together in Congress. She has been the first Latina to serve on the Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees and to be elected as Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus (2015-2017). But most of all, Sánchez takes pride in her son, Joaquín, who was born in 2009 and made her the eighth woman in the history of Congress to give birth while serving as a member.

 Sánchez holds a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.  She worked her way through school as a bilingual aide and ESL instructor and has never forgotten her roots and where she came from.

With Special Guests

Paola Velez

Paola Velez

Executive Pastry Chef

James Beard Award nominated Paola Velez is executive pastry chef of MaydanCompass RoseDoña Dona, and La Bodega at Compass Rose in Washington DC.
Doña Dona, which Velez co-founded, is a Latin American popup that benefited Ayuda during the 2020 pandemic. She is also the co-founder of Bakers Against Racism. Paola, the daughter of an immigrant parent from the Dominican Republic, is an advocate for immigrant rights and racial equality.


Council Member Deni Taveras

Council Member Deni Taveras

Prince George's County Council Member

Deni Taveras was re- elected to her second 4-year term on the Prince George’s County Council in 2018. In 2020, she was elected as Vice-Chair (VC), making history as the first Latina elected to her seat and to a leadership role on the Council. As council member she has attracted $10 billion worth of investments from both private and public sources and has put eight schools and two libraries in the pipeline for construction in her district.

Taveras is a strong advocate for education equity and social justice issues, seeking to improve the lives of working families and diverse communities. She chairs the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Climate, Energy and Environment Policy Committee and is a member of the Local Workforce Development Board.

Taveras holds a dual Masters degree in public affairs and urban regional planning from Princeton University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a Master’s degree from the University of Utah, and a Bachelor’s degree from Barnard College; the latter two in chemistry.


Karl Racine

Karl Racine

Attorney General for the District of Columbia

Karl A. Racine was sworn in as the District of Columbia’s first elected Attorney General in 2015 and was reelected to a second term in 2018. Attorney General Racine is honored to serve again and will use the next four years to expand work on priorities, including preserving affordable housing, employing evidence-based juvenile justice reforms, cracking down on slumlords, holding unscrupulous employers accountable for wage theft, and protecting consumers from scams and abusive business practices. He is also committed to making investments in new efforts to protect seniors and other vulnerable residents, interrupt violence in the District, address childhood trauma, and more.

Through his work as president of the bi-partisan National Association of Attorneys General and as Chair Emeritus of the Democratic Attorneys General Association’s Executive Committee, Attorney General Racine also speaks out for D.C. autonomy at the national level and pushes back against federal government policies that harm District residents.

Read more


Delegate Kathy KL Tran

Delegate Kathy KL Tran

Virginia Delegate, 42nd District

Kathy Tran’s family risked everything to come to America as boat refugees from Vietnam because this country has always represented hope, opportunity and freedom. Now, she’s fighting for these values in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing the people of the 42nd District.

As Delegate, Kathy has passed legislation to expand access to health care, protect our environment, improve worker’s rights, and make Virginia more welcoming and inclusive.

Previously, Kathy devoted her career to ensuring all working families have the opportunity to achieve their American Dream as a civil servant at the U.S. Department of Labor and as an advocate with the National Immigration Forum.

Kathy graduated from Duke University and earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan. The past president of her local PTA, she and her husband Matt live in West Springfield with their five children.


Dr. Francisco J. Diaz

Dr. Francisco J. Diaz

Chief Medical Examiner, District of Columbia

Dr. Francisco J. Diaz is the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia and he is board certified in Anatomic and Forensic Pathology. Dr. Diaz received his medical degree in his native country, Dominican Republic. After receiving his medical degree, Dr. Diaz trained in Anatomic Pathology at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, Pennsylvania at Temple University.

Dr. Diaz joined the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Wayne County, Michigan as an Assistant Medical Examiner. In 2012, he was appointed to the University of Michigan faculty, Department of Pathology as Assistant Professor. He was a Medical Examiner in Michigan for 16 years.

Dr. Diaz has performed over 8500 autopsies and testified in circuit, district, and federal courts. He co-authored the “Spitz and Fisher Medicolegal Investigation of Death” 5th edition as well as 35 peer-reviewed articles, abstracts, and presentations. He is a fellow of the College of the American Pathologists (CAP), the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).

Dr. Diaz is a member of the board of directors and the government affairs committee chair for NAME. He is an Assistant Professor at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Honorary Host Committee

U.S. State Senators
  • Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
  • Senator Chris Van Hollen Jr. (D-MD)
  • Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)
U.S. Representatives
  • Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-8)
District of Columbia Council Members
  • Councilmember Mary M. Cheh 
  • Councilmember Christina Henderson 
  • Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau  
  • Councilmember Brooke Pinto 
Viriginia State Senators and Delegates

 Virginia State Senators  

  • Senator Jennifer B. Boysko  
  • Senator Adam P. Ebbin 
  • Senator Janet Howell  

Virginia State Delegates  

  • Delegate Candi King 
  • Delegate Elizabeth R. Guzman
  • Delegate Mark L. Keam  
  • Delegate Mark H. Levine 
  • Delegate Alfonso H. Lopez 
  • Delegate David A. Reid   
  • Delegate Kathleen Murphy 
  • Delegate Mark Sickles
Maryland State Senators and Delegates

Maryland State Senators 

  • Senator Joanne C. Benson
  • Senator Nancy J. King  
  • Senator Benjamin F. Kramer
  • State Senator Paul G. Pinsky 

  • State Senator Willaim C. Smith, Jr.  


Maryland State Delegates 

  • Delegate Gabriel Acevero  
  • Delegate Juli Palakovich Carr 
  • Delegate Wanika Fisher  
  • Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo  
  • Delegate Anne R. Kaiser 
  • Delegate Marc Korman  
  • Delegate Lesley J. Lopez 
  • Delegate Kathleen M. Dumais 
  • Delegate Suhas Subramanyam 
  • Delegate Lorig Charkoudian 
  • Delegate Kumar P. Barve 
Congressional Members Outside DC/VA/MD
  • Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL)
  • Congressman Steve Cohen (TN) 
  • Representative Judy Chu (CA) 
  • The Honorable Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines 
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