April 2015


Event with NY Secretary of State Cesar Perales


Join us for a unique evening as NY Secretary of State Cesar Perales discusses his life as a civil rights lawyer, immigrant advocate, and public servant as the French-American Foundation joins The New York Immigration Coalition and the Fordham Law School Feerick Center for Social Justice in presenting New York Stories: A Special Immigrant Heritage Week Event. Perales will join in conversation with award-winning journalist Jim Avila, Senior National Correspondent for ABC News and White House Correspondent for Fusion. 

Space for this event is limited, and a reservation is required. Please RSVP no later than April 15, 2015, here.

Cesar Perales

In 2011, when Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated Cesar A. Perales to serve as New York Secretary of State and Senior Adviser for Policy, he described him as “one of our most distinguished New Yorkers.”

Secretary Perales has served at the highest levels of government, including as Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Jimmy Carter.  After his return home, he was named Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services by Governor Mario M. Cuomo and later became Deputy Mayor of New York City under Mayor David N. Dinkins.

The Secretary has an equally distinguished career as a civil rights lawyer.  As leader of Latino Justice PRLDEF, he created opportunities for thousands of people through his ground-breaking cases combating racial discrimination, protecting voting rights and advancing worker’s rights. 

At the Department of State, Secretary Perales plays a key role in the Governor’s economic development agenda and is responsible for making the State’s municipalities govern more efficiently. He is the first Secretary charged with the State’s Consumer Protection role and has also aggressively taken the lead in the Administration’s anti-poverty initiatives.

At the behest of Governor Cuomo, Secretary Perales created the Empire State Fellows Program, a unique vehicle to bring talented people into government and prepare them to serve as future policy makers. Similarly, Secretary Perales established the New York State Office for New Americans, which hosts the first statewide network of centers anywhere in the country that offer free English-language instruction, prepares immigrants to become naturalized citizens, and helps these newcomers start their own businesses.

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Jim Avila

Multiple Emmy and Murrow Award-winning journalist Jim Avila is the Senior National Correspondent at ABC News and White House Correspondent for ABC news and Fusion, the ABC/Univision joint venture launching in 2013. He is based in Washington DC.

In this role Avila covers Hispanic America, immigration reform, education, politics and other issues vitally important to the Latino community, the fastest-growing segment of our population. Avila led ABC’s coverage of Bridgegate and Governor Chris Christie and Rick Perry’s indictment on abuse of power charges. He also continues to contribute to “20/20” and other ABC broadcasts and platforms, specializing in law and justice and consumer investigations.

Throughout 2011 and 2012 Avila’s reporting on food, drug, consumer, transportation, environmental and other regulatory issues made a tangible difference in the lives of viewers.

A versatile reporter, Avila specializes in breaking news, reporting for World News and 20/20 on both the Newtown shooting tragedy and the Boston Marathon bombing. As Senior Law and Justice Correspondent he brought his powerful storytelling to the biggest stories around the country, from Jerry Sandusky and Penn State to Michael Jackson and OJ Simpson.

He has led several newsmagazine investigations on wrongful conviction, including a girl who recanted a story that she was raped by her two cousins after her mother admitted to concocting the account. Other recent reports include an in-depth investigation into unequal justice in the court system in Texas, tracing two men from different sides of the tracks who received two very different sentences from the same Texas judge. Avila also led ABC News coverage of the battle over child custody between the State of Texas and the Fundamentalist Mormon Sect accused of abusing children. Additionally, he has contributed to network-wide special reports on bird flu, healthcare in America and Hurricane Katrina.

Avila joined ABC from NBC News, where he had served as National Correspondent for “Nightly News” since January 2000, covering a range of domestic issues that included the September 11 attacks and their aftermath and the DC sniper shootings. He also reported from Afghanistan and Iraq, during which time he filed from inside NBC’s Baghdad hotel compound during and after its bombing by terrorists. Since 1997 Avila averaged 130 reports a year on “Nightly News,” which was the highest number for any minority in broadcast history, according to Joe Foote at Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. Before being named National Correspondent at NBC, Avila was a Chicago bureau correspondent, where he covered high-profile events including the shooting tragedies in Littleton, CO, Jonesboro, AR and Paducah, KY.

Prior to NBC, Avila was anchor and the investigative reporter for KNBC in Los Angeles, from 1994 to 1996. There he was the principal reporter on the O.J. Simpson criminal trial, helping the station earn the 1995 Golden Mike Award and a 1996 Emmy Award.

Before joining at KNBC, Avila was political reporter and anchor at WBBM-TV, the CBS owned station in Chicago, covering a variety of news stories of local, national and international importance, including the Persian Gulf War from both Saudi Arabia and Tel Aviv. Among his notable stories for WBBM-TV were the Beirut War, the TWA hijacking, the Nicaraguan civil war and the Mexican earthquake. From 1980 to 1984 he was a general assignment reporter for WLS, the ABC owned station in Chicago. Prior to that, he was a weekend anchor and the San Jose bureau chief for KPIX in San Francisco from 1976 to 1980. He began his broadcast career at KCBS Radio in San Francisco in 1973 as managing editor, and was later promoted to bureau chief.

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Fordham Law School
150 West 62nd Street, Room 7-119
New York