Young Women Leading The Fight For Social Justice

Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director of United We Dream, has won the $10,000 Edna Award from the Berger-Marks Foundation for 2014.
Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director of United We Dream, has won the $10,000 Edna Award from the Berger-Marks Foundation for 2014.

WASHINGTON – Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director of United We Dream, has been named winner of the 2014 Edna Award. The Edna Award, which carries a $10,000 prize, honors women age 35 or younger who have distinguished themselves as leaders of the social justice movement. It is named after Edna Berger, the first woman organizer of The Newspaper Guild and the inspiration behind the Berger-Marks Foundation.

As Managing Director of United We Dream, Jimenez was a key figure in the fight that led to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program- the biggest immigration policy victory in almost 20 years. Along the way, Jimenez has inspired young women around the country and personally invested her time and energy into mentoring others.

“I’m humbled to receive the Edna Award honoring Edna Berger’s inspiring courage and leadership in the labor movement. Edna and other courageous leaders before me paved the way for young women like myself to find our voices and fearlessly fight for dignity and justice,” said Jimenez. “This award not only recognizes my experience as an undocumented immigrant woman, but also the struggle of millions of immigrants across the country, mothers, workers, youth, and children who live under the fear of deportation every day. I have been part of building a powerful movement of immigrant youth and I’m committed to following Edna’s example by continuing to empower others to raise their voices for the wellbeing of our communities.”

“Christina’s tireless work in immigration reform organizing is an inspiration to us all”, said Linda Foley, President of the Berger-Marks Foundation Board of Trustees.

Also to be honored at the November 13 event will be 3 winners of the first-ever $1000 Kate Mullany Courageous Young Worker Awards. This award is named for an inspiring young laundry worker who, more than 150 years ago, helped win one of the first women’s unions in an industry that was harshly exploiting them. The 3 winners are Ellen Brackeen, a customer service representative at T-Mobile in Kansas; Donyetta Hill, who worked at a Detroit Church’s Chicken; and Yesica Mendez, a worker at Mrs. Green Natural Market in New York.

“We honor these women for their steadfast commitment to leading the way in the fight for social justice,” said Foley. “Ellen, Yesica and Donyetta’s strength in standing up in the workplace on behalf of all of their co-workers is a reminder that there is strength in numbers and young women can lead the way.”

Additionally, Victoria Alvarez of the United Steelworkers and Dessa Cosma-King of the Center for Progressive Leadership will be honored with $1000 Edna Awards of Distinction. Finalists for the Edna award included Nita Chaudhary, Michelle Dudley, Julieta Garabay, Nikki Lewis, Nomita Nath, Morgan Simon and Dina Yarmus.

Judging the contest this year were: Valerie Ervin, Executive Director of the Center for Working Families, Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union; Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women; Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO and Sara Steffens, Secretary-Treasurer, The Newspaper Guild-CWA.

The Berger-Marks Foundation was created by bequest of Tin Pan Alley composer Gerald Marks (“All of Me”) in honor of his wife, Edna Berger, who rose from being a receptionist to become the first woman organizer of The Newspaper Guild.

For more information, contact Beth Becker at 2026422676 or