Immigrant Families Together co-founder honored as Woman of Distinction

The leader of a local nonprofit that provides bail for parents in ICE custody and supportive services for families separated by the federal government was honored by the New York State Senate.

Julie Schwietert Collazo, co-founder of Immigrant Families Together, was honored as a 2019 NYS Senate Women of Distinction by State Senator Michael Gianaris. She was recognized during a ceremony in Albany last week.

“I would be happiest if I never had to dress up and attend an awards ceremony, as that would mean that our most pressing social problems would be solved,” she said. “But since there is so much work we all have to do, I am grateful to be honored.”

“Awards such as this one have a profound ripple effect,” Collazo added, “raising awareness of the honorees’ work and amplifying their ability to spread information and awareness, to exert influence, over matters that affect us all.”

A former social worker, Collazo works as a creative arts therapist, writer, editor and translator. She started Immigrant Families Together in June 2018 with her husband Francisco.

In six months, the organization, through social media, raised nearly $1 million and posted bond for more than 65 parents, grandparents and older siblings detained by ICE.

She has lived in Long Island City since 2003.

Last year’s honoree in the district was Maritza Munoz, director of housing services at Woodside on the Move.

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