On September 22, 2020, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) celebrated a successful year of promoting evidence-based public policies that protect the rights of migrants, newcomers, and refugees. The 2020 Virtual Gala honored the outstanding contributions of immigrant essential workers of the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU). CMS presented both unions with its Humanitarian Service Award. The award is a tribute to the hard work and great service of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and to union leaders advocating for safer workplaces. George Gresham, President of 1199, and John Samuelsen, President of TWU, accepted the awards during the event. The event also featured a special performance by Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, Lila Downs, and a musical tribute to essential workers by Broadway Artist, Nicholas Rodriguez. New York State Governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, sent greetings to participants and his thanks to essential workers in a letter to CMS for the event.
CMS Executive Director, Donald Kerwin hosted the lived event and presented key findings from CMS’s groundbreaking research about immigrant essential workers.