The Irish International Immigrant Center held its 28th annual Solas Awards Gala on Oct. 12 at the InterContinental Boston. As the IIIC’s signature annual fundraising event, the gala honors the many ways immigrants contribute to our society and supports the immediate needs of those coming to our shores from across the globe. Proceeds from Solas enable the IIIC to expand its legal, education, and wellness services for immigrant and refugee families at this time of critical need.
This year, the IIIC honored three individuals who have significantly contributed to the Center’s mission, who are strong community leaders and advocates for immigration, and who are working towards a society where all are welcomed and valued, and enjoy equal opportunities and protections: Former US senator and US Secretary of State John F. Kerry; John F. Donohue, president, chairman, and CEO of Arbella Insurance Group; and Noon Elhassan, a UMass Boston student and Sudanese immigrant.
As a strong proponent of comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, Secretary Kerry received the Solas Service Award. John Donohue received the Solas Leadership Award for his outstanding service to immigrant and refugee families across Massachusetts, and for his leadership within the business community for championing this cause. Noon Elhassan received the inaugural Solas Courage Award. Noon, now a student at UMass Boston student and immigrant from Sudan, has overcome great odds to build a life here in Boston. The IIIC assisted Noon and her family in becoming permanent United States residents, and today she is pursuing her dreams of becoming a medical professional and a US citizen.
The IIIC wishes to extend its sincere appreciation to those who attended and supported the celebration this year, particularly thanking the Arbella Insurance Group for their close partnership. The IIIC also extends a warm thank you to the master of ceremonies, state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, to Robert Consalvo for leading our Live Ask and Auction, and to all of our superb musical artists.
Ronnie Millar, executive director of the IIIC, expressed his gratitude in stating, “Everyone at the Irish International Immigrant Center is deeply grateful for the support of all our Solas sponsors and donors. The theme of this year’s Solas was courage, and for sure we all need courage in these days when there is so much uncertainty. We need each other and as the Irish say, ‘we all live in each other’s shelter.’”