Hispanic coalition to receive FBI award

Isabel Rubio, founder and executive director of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, will travel to Washington, D.C. on March 20 to accept the FBI Community Leadership Award.

Rubio founded HICA in 2001 to improve the lives of Hispanics in Alabama by offering information and referral services. Last month, the Birmingham-based non-profit opened its new office at the Shelby County Services Building in Pelham.

HICA also offers a 24-hour Spanish-language victims’ hotline, which gives immigrant crime victims access to information seven days a week. HICA lent its victims’ hotline to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office to help solve the murders of five Hispanic men at a U.S. 280 apartment complex last August. Sheriff Chris Curry and other officials later approached Rubio about opening a HICA office in the county.

Rubio said she and HICA staffers are delighted to be honored for simply fulfilling their mission.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for the things that we do everyday because we believe they’re the right things to do,” Rubio said. “We’re here to work with community agencies to make sure that immigrants are served.”

FBI Director Robert Mueller will present the Community Leadership Award to Rubio at the FBI Headquarters. The award recognizes individuals and organizations that have a profound impact on their respective communities. The special agent in charge of each FBI field office submits a nomination annually.

Carmen S. Adams, special agent in charge at the Birmingham FBI office, said HICA has strengthened the relationship between law enforcement and the growing Hispanic community.

“The FBI can only conduct investigations and protect the American people from crime and acts of extremism if it has the support and understanding of the American people,” Adams said. “Through the efforts of organizations like HICA, bridges can be built between law enforcement and the community we serve.”

For more information, call the Pelham HICA office at 620-6656 or visit the Web site www.hispanicinterest.org.