Church World Service Honors Southern Border Heroes, Immigration Advocates with Champions for Change Award

Christopher Plummer | November 8, 2019

New York City — Last night, at the Museum of Chinese in America, Church World Service held its annual Benefit for Change, a celebration of those fighting for the rights of immigrants and refugees, and the transformation of communities around the world through just and sustainable means. The event featured a keynote speech by Congressman Adriano Espaillat of New York’s 13th Congressional District.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the organization’s annual Champions for Change Awards to La Posada Providencia Respite Shelter, The Holding Institute Community Center — both representatives of the Southern Border Shelter Network— and Angry Tias & Abuelas of Rio Grande Valley. These powerful and inspiring groups were honored for their work tirelessly supporting asylum seekers along the southern border — many of whom have crossed insurmountable distances simply to live lives in safety.

Upon receiving the awards, the honorees issued the following statements:

“The Holding Institute believes that loving and serving your neighbor should be without condition and without restraint. We treat every child, woman, and man that comes into our facility like they are members of our own family. For us, there is nothing more rewarding than the moment we see children that have come to us after long dangerous journeys begin to laugh and smile again. Thank you to Church World Service for this honor and for joining us in helping build a future for those in need.”

  •       Reverend Michael Smith, Executive Director, The Holding Institute

“Families who come to La Posada have often been detained after crossing the border. They have little more than the clothes on their backs and have not felt safe or cared for for a very long time. We are here to be their support system and to do everything we can to help them start over. Every meal, every phone call, every connection we can make for them makes a difference. Thank you Church World Service for this recognition, your friendship is a powerful asset in continuing this vital work.“

  •       Magda Bolland, Executive Director, La Posada Providencia

“Families are risking everything for the chance of safety—only to be left in a new increasingly dangerous situation in Matamoros. There is little to no help from the government for those returned there, and people need clean water, sanitation, food, clothing and so many other basics. These families have decided it is better to live for months in small, flimsy tents with limited food, running water or other necessities than to go back to where they are fleeing danger. We work with our partners to do all that we can to support them. To be recognized in this way for our work is a truly special honor.”

  •       Joyce Hamilton, Founding Member, Angry Tias and Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley

For more information about the Benefit for Change, or to speak with Reverend McCullough, contact Christopher Plummer at