z2020 About

Make the Road New York builds the power of immigrant and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice. 

As our most important fundraiser, our Gala takes on even more urgency this year. Given the vulnerability of our communities in the midst of this pandemic, we continue fighting to win a just recovery for all and policies that transform the structures that made this pandemic especially devastating for our communities. In the midst of this hectic year, with the help of our partners, we have secured victories that have brought dignity and justice to our communities in New York and across the country. 

This year, especially, it feels urgent to come together. Thank you for joining us to celebrate the resilience and strength of our movements, honor the memories of those we have lost, recognize our fellow changemakers and look ahead to the future we can build together.

Design Concept 

Memorial birds and lanterns strung on a line.

In May, we came together to host vigils to honor members of the Make the Road family who we lost to COVID. One of these memorials was held in Corona Plaza, the future home of our new community center in the heart of immigrant Queens, and New York’s epicenter of the COVID crisis. Memorials of this kind have been glaringly missing from public life even as hundreds of thousands of people have died in this country.  

Marilyn Mendoza is our Education Justice Organizer and a talented artist. For years her work has beautified our offices and our protests. The papercut birds and lanterns that Marilyn created for that memorial became the inspiration for our gala design. She created a design that drew from many Latinx communities’ traditions, including the image of the hummingbird which has cultural significance in death and mourning. Marilyn aimed to bring light and color to the event as a way to commemorate the lives and accomplishments of those who walked with us. Making the birds became a source of healing for Marilyn and they were a source of comfort for many of us at a time when we were struggling to find beauty in our world.