On Tuesday, Colorlines.com’s investigative reporter Seth Freed Wessler accepted the 2012 Hillman Prize for Web Journalism at the annual Hillman Prizes ceremony at The TimesCenter in New York City. Since 1950, The Hillman Award is a journalism prize awarded annually to "journalists, writers and public figures who pursue social justice and public policy for the common good."
Wessler was honored for his investigation "Thousands of Kids Lost From Parents in U.S Deportation System" that found at least 5,000 U.S. citizen children are in the foster care system today due to the detainment or deportation of their undocumented immigrant parents by the U.S. government.
"After reading the article by Seth Freed Wessler, I knew there was no other place that I had to be than here at this moment to introduce him," said Danny Glover, who presented Wessler with the Hillman award.
Jennifer Pozener liveblogged the event and included Wessler’s acceptance speech on the Women in Media’s "Voices" blog.
"It’s an extraordinary honor to be here, to have that introduction… I spent a lot of time last year in small dark rooms in states ike TX, AZ, FL in the basements of immigration detention centers, and child welfare offices… in a concrete room in AZ, a soft-spoken Mexican woman told me she had not seen or spoken with her children in four months. It started with being pulled over" for speeding. Had she been a citizen, he said, she would have gotten back to her kids very quickly. Instead, the Fed severed her from her children, and severed her from the court processes that dealt with her children… cultural chauvanism says that children would be better off in foster care with strangers than with immigrants who are not citizens. Seth concludes by noting that this investigative accomplishment "would not have been possible without the remarkable vision of Applied Research Center director Rinku Sen…and without Kai Wright, Colorlines’ editor."
(Photo: Lindsay Beyerstein)