HOLA Ohio is a grassroots Latino organization based in Painesville that empowers the Latino community through outreach, advocacy and community organizing. The organization formed in 1999 as a loosely organized group of women in Ashtabula County.

Today, HOLA works with families across Ohio, and members have used grassroots organizing to stop dozens of deportations. Their work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Telemundo, and has earned HOLA multiple honors, including a Torchlight Prize, a prestigious national award recognizing work that empowers the Latino community.

In the face of a recent national crackdown on undocumented immigration, HOLA continues to fight to keep families together and push for reform of outdated immigration laws.

“The situation is dire and unprecedented,” says Veronica Dahlberg, the executive director of HOLA. “I am getting phone calls every day from people who have been picked up at traffic stops, on their way to work, and from their own backyards.”

On August 12, “Out of the Shadows,” a fundraiser to support HOLA Ohio’s work, will be held at The Fritzcshe Center at Ursuline College. The event will include entertainment by a local mariachi band, raffles, a wine pull and a traditional Mexican dinner. Joe Cimperman, president of Global Cleveland, will be the keynote speaker.

All proceeds from the event will support HOLA Ohio and the launch a community center and kitchen incubator in downtown Painesville. When completed, the community center will focus on economic development, workforce training and education. It will include a full commercial kitchen, a modest café and a large meeting room for events and trainings. A kitchen incubator will support micro and small food businesses.

For ticket and sponsorship information for the “Out of the Shadows” event, visit outoftheshadowswithhola.eventbrite.com.