Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy team member Ruth Santana is the 2019 recipient of the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Liberty Bell Award.
Santana, who works with the Advocacy Center’s Immigrant Justice Program as a BIA accredited paralegal-advocate, received the award in recognition for her advocacy on behalf of immigrants seeking legal assistance in Charlotte’s Immigration Court.
Santana is a tireless champion for immigrants in our community, fighting to ensure they have the legal assistance and information they need to defend themselves in Charlotte’s Immigration Court.
Her work is critical because no one has the right to representation in immigration court, since immigration cases are civil matters.
That leaves those who can’t afford an attorney, including children, alone to defend themselves in an overwhelming and confusing system with scarce resources.
For hundreds of clients, Santana is a stabilizing and supportive advocate, guiding families in crisis through frightening uncertainty and fighting for their right to due process.
The Mecklenburg County Bar’s Liberty Bell Award, which has been awarded annually since 1966, recognizes non-lawyers serving the community in ways that strengthen the American system of freedom under the law.
Santana joins a long list of community leaders who have received the award, including former Advocacy Center paralegal-advocate and CMS Board of Education leader Arthur Griffin (2004), local historian Tom Hanchett (2011) and Harvey B. Gantt (2018), Charlotte’s first African American mayor.