2023 Annual Report

Racial Justice, Equity & Inclusion

CASA’s Racial Justice, Equity, and Inclusion work has moved into a new phase with the formation and launch of our Racial Justice, Equity, and Inclusion staff team and the continued growth of our two affinity groups: Black @ CASA and the CASA LGBTQIA+ Committee.

Black @ CASA and staff across CASA’s offices organized several Juneteenth events over the holiday weekend and continued the Juneteenth celebrations throughout the week.

As we honor Black freedom, pay homage to our ancestors, reflect on the enduring legacy of slavery, and renew our commitment to the work ahead, we held events open to the community in Rockville, MD, Langley Park,  MD, and Jonesboro, GA, as well staff events in Silver Spring, MD, and Woodbridge, VA. Meanwhile, CASA’s LGBTQIA+ Committee led the most robust PRIDE Month celebrations to date. Staff decorated every CASA Center with rainbows and positive messages of support for our LGBTQIA+ staff and members. The Committee led a Cafe con CASA presentation addressing the imperialist roots of the gender binary, anti-LGBT legislative trends, and more. The Pride Month Celebrations culminated in banner decoration and marching in the 2023 D.C. Capital Pride Parade, where hundreds of queer people and allies chanted “Si se puede” along with our staff and members.

York Groundbreaking

Over the past several years, CASA has served thousands of residents at its York Center on East Princess Street while also building its membership in York and beyond. We must again expand our operations to meet the growing demand for our services and add new programs.

Following a multi-year search, CASA selected a 17,000-square-foot building on Roosevelt Avenue,  located on an easily accessible thoroughfare, as the ideal site to serve as our new York Welcome Center. As the building has been mostly vacant in recent years, its renovation will boost employment and business in the area and bring much-needed services directly to residents in the local neighborhood.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey dedicated nearly 1.5 million dollars from this year’s spending bill to the construction of the center, bringing forth new opportunities. We are proud to have him stand with CASA.

CASA celebrated the growth and leadership of more than 17 staff who were promoted into new roles this year! Highlights include Lydia Walther-Rodriguez taking on the position the Chief of Organizing & Leadership, Cathryn Paul’s promotion to Director of Public Policy, Shannon Wilk de Benitez stepping into the role of Education Director after years as the Deputy Director of Education and Services Integration, and the promotion of Earvin Gonzalez, CASA’s first Deputy Director of Services in the Central Maryland region.

CASA also welcomed 77 new staff this year. Some of our most notable new additions to the CASA family include Chanea Davis, Elections Communications Manager, and Mayra Martinez, Virginia Health & Human Services Manager.

CASA hires most staff from our membership, internship programs, and AmeriCorps alumni. This year, former CASA AmeriCorps members Nilsabel Caceres and Fernanda Rodriguez joined CASA as Immigrant Integration Coordinators. An AmeriCorps alum, Brooke Stough, also joined CASA’s full-time staff as a Workforce Coordinator.

See these staff and our talented team on CASA’s Staff page.

Movement and Allies

Gustavo Torres

Movement Month

CASA held its first ever Movement Month in June 2023. A brand new tradition, Movement Month was a month-long effort at CASA to bring new supporters into our cause. Grassroots supporters and allies play a critical role in fueling ours and any people-powered movement, and that’s why during Movement Month, we encouraged our supporters to help us build power by reaching out to their friends, family, and colleagues to invite them to get involved with CASA’s work.

Via a peer-to-peer campaign, we asked our supporters and staff to mobilize their personal networks by sharing with them CASA’s mission and work by calling, emailing, texting, posting on their social media, or holding a get-together for their community. We asked this of our supporters and staff because we knew they would be the most influential messengers for CASA, since they align the closest with our mission.

Movement Month was an amazing feat, as we were able to welcome 168 new people into the CASA family and raise $13,017 after a month of peer-to-peer fundraising. This was an empowering new event CASA held, and we look forward to hosting it again next year.

Ally Network

The CASA Ally Network is a network of CASA supporters committed to supporting and standing in solidarity with immigrant and working-class communities by organizing, learning, contributing financially, and becoming stronger allies to the immigrant justice movement.

CASA defines an ally as anybody who has the privilege of not being directly impacted by the issue our members are fighting to change but who stands in solidarity with our communities because of their passion and belief that all people deserve safety, happiness, and a chance to achieve their dreams.

The events we held this past year with the Ally Network were, first, the Ally Network Meeting with CASA’s Climate Fellows, where the Allies had the opportunity to meet with CASA’s Climate Fellows and Climate Training Manager Gabriela Roque to hear about the training they undergo on leadership and climate justice and how to be a spokesperson for their communities on climate justice issues; second, the Maryland Legislative Action Meeting with none other than CASA’s Public Policy Director Cathryn Paul. Here Allies were updated on all of CASA’s current campaigns in Maryland, policies we are supporting, and what is in store for CASA Maryland.

A Final Message

Gustavo Torres