LAS VEGAS, NV – The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada is pleased to announce that Yvanna Cancela has been chosen to receive the 2014 Emilie Wanderer Civil Libertarian of the Year award. Cancela is the political director at Culinary Workers Union Local 226 of UNITE HERE. The ACLU of Nevada is honoring Cancela for her leadership on immigrants’ rights issues, her work coordinating a statewide campaign in Nevada for comprehensive immigration reform, and for standing up for worker rights.

The ACLU of Nevada will present Cancela with the Civil Libertarian of the Year award at its Twelfth Annual Celebration of Civil Liberties on Friday, June 13, 2014, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve.

“Yvanna has been a steadfast champion of immigration reform for many years. We recognize her for her unwavering commitment to achieving citizenship and worker status for those who want the same opportunities to earn a living, raise their families and participate fully in our community. Worker rights and protections, healthcare, and a living wage also motivate Yvanna to improve our community and state, and we are proud to honor her for it,” said Tod Story, ACLU of Nevada Executive Director.

"I am humbled and honored to be named the Civil Libertarian of the year. The award is representative of the tireless work my union has undertaken for decades to secure a better future for all immigrants. The fight for comprehensive immigration reform is of paramount significance to our generation. Millions of families are affected by our broken system everyday. Through my work at the Culinary Union, I have been privileged to be a part of a movement to reunite families and improve the lives of working women and men,” said Cancela.

Cancela lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is a union leader who has dedicated her career to advancing workplace justice and fighting for comprehensive immigration reform. In 2011, Cancela was appointed the Political Director of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 – Nevada’s largest union, with over 55,000 members – and is responsible developing an overarching agenda to advance workers’ rights. She led programs to increase members’ awareness and civic engagement that resulted in the registration of thousands of new Latino voters, as well as record voter turnout among union members. Throughout the last year and a half, Cancela has worked to organize union members to pressure Congress for comprehensive immigration reform. Through her work, Cancela aims to empower workers to exercise their voices and push for change. Despite being the political director, Cancela stays closely involved with the worker organizing. In 2013, she was awarded the White House’s César Chávez Champions of Change award for the union’s work on organizing for comprehensive immigration reform. Cancela was born and raised in Miama, Florida. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2010.

The ACLU of Nevada’s Emilie Wanderer Civil Libertarian of the Year award is given to individuals who have significantly contributed to the protection and advancement of civil liberties in Nevada. It is named in honor of Emilie Wanderer, one of Las Vegas’s first female attorneys and a long-time civil rights advocate. Additional information about the Wanderer Award and the ACLU of Nevada’s June 13 Celebration of Civil Liberties is available at aclunv.org/event/2014celebration.