Will aid Derechos Humanos, which she helped found
A Tucson human-rights activist received a $150,000 prize from a cultural foundation for her community work.
Pima County’s legal defender, Isabel Garcia, was among five people awarded the Lannan Foundation’s Prize for Cultural Freedom for 2008.
Garcia is a co-founder of Derechos Humanos, a local organization that defends immigrant rights and works to publicize conditions on the U.S-Mexico border.
“I’m very happy the foundation would be willing to recognize somebody like me, who is considered controversial with the mainstream media,” Garcia said.
But her greatest reward, she said, comes from people on the street thanking her for her work with the community.
“This prize will allow me to continue the fight for the most basic human rights for migrants,” Garcia said.
A large portion of the prize will go to Derechos Humanos, she said.
The foundation gave out $750,000 to the five winners for their work in the U.S., Mexico and the United Kingdom, according to the foundation’s Web site.
Other winners this year were rewarded for their work on environmental justice, American Indian cultural preservation, prisoner’s rights and stopping violence against women.
The Lannan organization is a 40-year-old family foundation dedicated to “cultural freedom and diversity” based in Santa Fe, N.M., that recognizes artists, writers and activists. The Cultural Freedom Award was created in 2003 “to honor individuals working on behalf of communities struggling to uphold and defend their right to cultural freedom and diversity.”