Event Details

For the past two decades, the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) Human Rights Awards has honored human rights champions and business, civic, and community leaders. The event draws 1,000+ attendees and provides critical funding for NIJC. In 2020, for the safety of our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, NIJC presented the Human Rights Awards virtually for the first time to a global audience. NIJC is excited to bring this inspirational event online once again in 2021. Over the past 30 years, with support from thousands of pro bono attorneys, NIJC has provided legal services to countless people and has achieved reforms for a more humane immigration system through litigation and policy advocacy.

2021 Awardees:

Human Rights Corporate Award Recipient: Allstate

Allstate has been a corporate leader in providing exemplary pro bono services, particularly to NIJC clients. Six years ago, Allstate’s corporate legal department created a formal pro bono program as part of a company-wide focus on community and diversity programs. During the past six years, Allstate’s pro bono partnership has been instrumental in representing asylum seekers, including winning asylum for five individuals, participating in clinics and taking on an additional nine asylum cases and 10 DACA clients in the past year. Allstate’s commitment to pro bono work and financial support to non-profit organizations has served as an inspiration to other corporate partners.

Jeanne and Joseph Sullivan Award: Johannes Favi

Johannes Favi is a Beninese community organizer, leader, and writer. After spending 10 months in immigration detention, Johannes has made it his mission to end detention and provide support to other victims. He has led fundraisers and met with political and community leaders alongside organizations including Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants, Connect Kankakee, the Midwest Immigration Bond Fund, University of Chicago Law School's Immigrants' Rights Clinic, the Sanctuary Diocese Task Force of Chicago, and Detention Watch Network. He lives in Indiana with his three children.

Human Rights Practitioner Award: Sara Ghadiri

Sara’s passion and commitment for immigrants’ rights has inspired exponential growth in pro bono service. Over the past year, Sara has led the Chapman and Cutler LLP team in a variety of pro bono matters and with clients coming from around the world. During the COVID pandemic, Sara and a team at Chapman quickly filed a habeas petition for a man detained in immigration detention. Under Sara’s guidance, Chapman is also managing three asylum matters and hosted two remote DACA clinics with corporate partners. Chapman and Cutler LLP named Sara as their first Pro Bono Counsel in early 2021, expanding the firm’s commitment to pro bono service. Sara is a zealous advocate for individual clients, an energetic manager for encouraging other attorneys, and a strategic leader in systemic discussions for pro bono engagement.


A panel discussion with NIJC clients, EllaGabriela, and Samer, moderated by Maria Hinojosa, founder and president of Futuro Media Group and author of Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America

Watch a sneak peak of Ella's story:


U.S. Representative Jesús G. “Chuy” García

& Albany Park Theater Project

Rising Star Awardees:

Xenia Chiu, Sidley Austin LLP 
Judy He, Haynes and Boone, LLP
Mara Klebaner, White & Case LLP
Luke Maher, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Lea Malewitz, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Emilie O’Toole, McDermott, Will & Emery, LLC
Akash Patel, Hogan Lovells US LLP
P.C. Wang, Sidley Austin LLP 
Lizzy Westrope, DLA Piper


2021 Human Rights Awards Committee:

José Ramón González, Co-Chair
Equitable Holdings, Inc.

Linda Myers, Co-Chair
Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Janet Bawcom
Ingredion Incorporated

Carrie Di Santo
CME Group

Chad Doobay
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Jonathan Drage

Jennifer K. Fardy
Law Office of Jennifer K. Fardy, LLC

Teresa Wilton Harmon
Sidley Austin LLP

Jane Mansell

Jon Milonas

Ernesto R. Palomo
Locke Lord LLP

John "Jay" Reidy III

Heather Russell

Gloria Santona
Baker McKenzie LLP

Brett Scharback
Chicago Cubs

Charles Smith
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Natalie Spears

Jeanne M. Sullivan

Vania Montero Wit
United Airlines

Suzanne Yoon
Kinzie Capital Partners

NIJC Leadership Board:

Marta Carreira-Slabe, Co-Chair

Ann Marie Walsh, Co-Chair
Locke Lord LLP

Caitlin Annatoyn
Arnold & Porter

Chirag Badlani
Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd.

David Berten
Global IP Law Group, LLC

Bartram Brown
Chicago-Kent College of Law

Gabrielle Buckley
Gannon Center for Women and Leadership, Loyola University Chicago

Edith Canter
Canter Strategies

Joan Coogan

Kathleen Dillon Narko
Northwestern University School of Law

Amy Doehring
Akerman LLP

Chad Doobay
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Crystal Doyle

Jennifer K. Fardy
Law Office of Jennifer K. Fardy, LLC

Terry Y. Feiertag

Susan Fortino-Brown
Law Office of Susan Fortino-Brown

Lisa Haidostian
McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Monica Halloran
Levy Restaurants

Nicole Henning
Jones Day

Thomas Hurka

Annette Isaacson
JPMorgan Chase

Michael Jarecki
Jarecki Law Group, LLC

Sherene A. Jodrey
The Boeing Company

Marc Kadish
Mayer Brown LLP

Richard “Brad” Kapnick
Katten & Temple LLP

Richard Klawiter

Danae Kovac
The HANA Center

Marketa Lindt
Sidley Austin LLP

James Morsch
Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP

Rev. Craig Mousin
DePaul University College of Law

Soledad O’Donnell

Alexis Perlmutter
Civis Analytics

Daphnee Pierre Camilien
University of Illiniois at Chicago

Ivan Poullaos
Winston & Strawn LLP

Abiman Rajadurai

Ernesto Ramos
BMO Harris Bank

Randall Rapp
Rapp Law Group, LLC

John "Jay" Reidy III

Gabriel Rodriguez
Schiff Hardin LLP

Mony Ruiz-Velasco
Alianza Americas

Lee Ann Russo
Jones Day

Enrique Salgado

Gloria Santona
Baker & McKenzie LLP

Douglas Sargent
Locke Lord LLP

Mark Schwartz
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP

David Serwer
Baker & McKenzie LLP

Duane Sigelko
Reed Smith LLP

John Skakun
Sidley Austin LLP

Michele Slachetka
Jenner & Block LLP

Maile H. Solis
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP

Mark Sullivan
Grant Thornton LLP

Alen Takhsh
Takhsh Law, PC

Nick Tarasen
Amazon.com, Inc.

Wade Thomson
Jenner & Block LLP

Ann Marie Therese Wahls
Latham & Watkins LLP

Benjamin C. Weinberg

Ellen Wheeler
Foley & Lardner LLP

Vania Montero Wit
United Airlines

Gretchen Wolf
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Miriam Zeidman
Anti-Defamation League

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