Miguel’s Wellstone Award

Miguel - Wellstone AwardWe are proud to congratulate the Director of LAF’s Immigrants and Workers’ Rights Practice Group, Miguel Keberlein, who recieved the Paul & Sheila Wellstone Award in a ceremony last night.  It was awarded by the Freedom Network, a national alliance of advocates working with survivors of human trafficking.   The award is named in honor of U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, both champions of human rights and justice. The Wellstone Award recognizes individuals and agencies that have made a unique or outstanding contribution to combating human trafficking and slavery in the United States.  Miguel received the award for his advocacy on behalf of migrant seasonal farm workers, who are often victims of human trafficking.  An excerpt of his moving acceptance speech follows:
Miguel - Wellstone Award 2“We all come to this work for different reasons and from different backgrounds.  For myself, I spent much of my youth growing up in my mother’s home country of Guatemala in a very remote village during the height of the civil war.  War is not kind and the atrocities one witnesses can easily shake one’s belief in mankind.  But there are always lessons to be learned and much good can come from the darkest of moments, something I am always reminded of when I work with our clients.  My father has always considered Don Quixote as his hero and I’ve received the book as a gift from him on several occasions throughout my life.  I look back now and I know why.  In the face of reality in a world that too often tells us we can’t, sometimes we are required to forge ahead by seeing the world for all that it can be.  I believe in a world the way Paul and Sheila Wellstone saw it, the way my father sees it, and indeed the way Don Quixote sees it.  Together we can create a world where respecting human dignity is the cornerstone of our society, and where human trafficking is something of the past.”

Congratulations, Miguel!

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