Recognition | Welcoming America

Category: Recognition

Embassy of Mexico selects David Lubell for Ohtli Award

Deborah Hakes | September 15, 2016

David Lubell, founder and executive director of Welcoming America, has been selected as the 2016 recipient of the Ohtli Award, one of the highest awards given by the Government of Mexico to those who work with the Mexican community abroad. He will be honored as the first non-Hispanic recipient of the prestigious award in Atlanta, Georgia, for efforts to advance prosperity of Latino communities and open pathways that improve quality of life for immigrant population.

Launched in 2009 by Lubell, and based in Decatur, GA, Welcoming America has spurred a growing movement across the United States, with one in every eight Americans living in a Welcoming Community. Lubell is an accomplished social entrepreneur who began his career as an advocacy and organizing director of Latino Memphis. He later founded and became executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, where he helped to found Welcoming Tennessee, the model for what is now Welcoming America. He was named 2015 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and selected to the first Chronicle of Philanthropy 40 Under 40 list of innovative social change leaders in 2016.

The Ohtli Award is given to individuals who have distinguished themselves by dedicating their professional lives to advancing the prosperity of Mexican-American and Latino communities and opening pathways that improve the quality of life of the immigrant population. Ohtli is a Nahuatl word that means "pathway," or “camino” in Spanish. The Institute for Mexicans Abroad, part of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, annually grants the Ohtli Award, which consists of a medal, a silver rosette, and a diploma.

The award will be presented on Sept. 20 at the headquarters of the Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta, as part of the celebrations for the 206 Anniversary of the Independence of Mexico, as well as the Welcoming Week celebrations happening across the United States. Welcoming Week is an annual celebration hosted by Welcoming America that brings together thousands of people at hundreds of local events to celebrate the contributions of immigrants and refugees and the role communities play to foster greater welcome.

 “It is an enormous pleasure for the Mexican Consulate General in Atlanta to deliver the Ohtli Award 2016 to Mr. David Lubell for his outstanding contribution fostering immigrant communities in the United States not only in Tennessee, where he started developing the valuable program of Welcoming Nashville  but also in the rest of the country, for it grew to become Welcoming America, including Atlanta.” stated the Consulate General of México in Atlanta.

“I’m deeply grateful for this honor, which is also a recognition of the growing movement being led by many across the country who recognize that our communities work best when everyone feels welcome,” said David Lubell.

“In a rapidly globalizing world, communities that thrive will be those that address fear and divisiveness at its root, and go beyond tolerance to ensure that people of all backgrounds can fully participate and contribute to broader economic and social vitality. This Welcoming Week, and throughout the year, an every-growing number of communities are choosing to respond in ways that reflect the best of American values -- inviting new neighbors to join meals, creating welcoming policies that encourage things like civic participation and entrepreneurship, and opening the door for more New Americans serve in public office.”

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