Yvanna Cancela, an organizer for Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Las Vegas, is being honored by the White House today for her work with immigrants, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Cancela is the only union organizer to be named one of 11 honorees of this year's César Chávez Champions of Change awards, named after the United Farm Worker leader. She is being honored for her work in organizing Nevada residents in favor of creating an immigration process that includes a road map to citizenship.
Cancela said she hopes a bill can be passed quickly that includes a citizenship process that is more fair to aspiring citizens.
The union has been a champion of immigration reform for at least a decade and a half. It seems like Republicans are more likely to compromise than they have been for at least the last 20 years and that’s promising. But I think it’s going to be a fight for a comprehensive package....For the labor movement as a whole, this is a top priority.
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett lauded Cancela and the other honorees:
These eleven individuals exemplify the core decency and generosity of Americans, by welcoming and giving voice to those that come to our shore. Whether through advocacy and civil rights, helping with housing and education, engagement in churches and communities, or simply by being a friend, the citizens we honor today embody the legacy of the great César Chávez, who dedicated his life to fighting for justice for all.
According to a Culinary Workers press release, Cancela's work has increased involvement amongst both community activists and clergy and has improved political mobilization in Nevada.