The Award Ceremony of the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women was held on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 in Newark, DE.
Marking the 30th Anniversary of the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women, Romona S. Fullman, Esq., director Office of the Commission for Women and the Division of Human Relations, offered the welcoming words followed by the Proclamation of the Secretary of State, the Honorable Jeffrey W. Bullock, and the opening remarks of Rebecca L. Evaristo, 2011 Hall of Fame Committee Chair.
The Mistress of Ceremony Nancy P. Fleming, Delaware Commission for Women Chair, introduced the 2011 inductees: Neda P. Biggs, Imogene F. Chandler, Audrey K. Doberstein, Susan Del Pesco and Moonyeen L. Klopfenstein.
Neda Biggs is known in the community for her formidable professional aptness, fierce intelligence, infinite kindness and extreme generosity. Neda Biggs is certainly deserving of being in the company of great Hall of Fame women. She uses her intelligence, tremendous heart and flawless work ethic to serve and empower those who face serious life challenges. Her profound commitment to the community, coupled with her bilingual skills and holistic response to the legal and psychological needs of her clients, define her as an extraordinary victim’s advocate. She is a vision of hope for the community and state. Neda is unquestionably a role model among her colleagues and the women and victims she represents.
As the only bilingual, nonprofit victim’s immigration law practitioner in Delaware and the Maryland Eastern Shore, Neda Biggs is an outstanding pioneer in her field of work. Her many degrees, bilingual skills and multi-cultural expertise allow her to effectively advocate for an underrepresented community by providing unprecedented services to immigrant victims in Southern Delaware. In spite of the obstacles faced in reaching a population that has been mistreated and is mistrusting of the law, Neda continually gives of her time, energy, understanding and expertise.
Although she is contracted to work three days a weed, she is typically at the office seven days a week. She deeply understands the trauma experienced by her clients and addresses these issues through counseling and by appropriate referral to other agencies.. The majority of her clients live below the poverty level and have limited educational backgrounds.
Not deterred by these enormous obstacles faced by the people she serves, Neda believes in her clients and often offers legal services pro-bono. All this has earned her the trust and appreciation of the people, their families and communities and the judicial system in which she serves.
Highly respected among colleagues and acquitances, Neda is known for her dedication to the Hispanic Immigrant Community of Sussex County and the incredible work she has done on its behalf. Because of her impressive reputation, she is often requested to provide very specialized training at the local, statewide and national levels. Some of this training includes Immigration Victim Issues at the National Center for Victims of Crime Conference (DC 2006); Immigrant issues for Community; How to Respond to Raids, (DE/MD 2009/2010); and, Immigrant Issues, Telamon Conference (Indianapolis 2010).
Ms. Biggs is the legal advocate at La Esperanza, the only multi-service community center devoted to serving the Hispanic community in Southern Delaware. Her combination of legal expertise and certification in mental health counseling allows her to deliver comprehensive services to a unique and vulnerable population.
One of the most impressive ways in which Neda advocates for her community is through the filing of a U-Visa. This Visa was created to grant relief to undocumented victims of crime through legal status and work eligibility. She focuses on victims of crime through legal status and work eligibility. She focuses on victims’ work because she is dedicated to the empowerment of disenfranchised individuals. In addition to providing a legal presence to undocumented victims of crime, her work with the U-Visa assists law enforcement agencies in identifying and prosecuting violent offenders. Undocumented immigrants are often targets of crimes such as domestic violence and sexual assault, due to their limited resources and general fear of the police.
Through the U-Visa, Neda is giving a voice and a future to these residents of Sussex County, while creating a safer and healthier community. The impact of each individual case is immeasurable. As an individual is granted legal status, they are empowered by increased opportunities, such as legal employment and continued education. Neda is currently working on approximately 100 U-Visa Cases.
In 2007 Neda was selected as a winner and received $5,000 from Avon’s “Hello Tomorrow” Fund which recognizes individuals committed to empowering women and girls. Only 104 of the 8,000 women who aplied for this award were selected. She also received $15,000 in funding from the Delaware Fund for Women for the impressive and unprecedented work she does with immigrant victims.
Although Neda was an only child and has no children of her own, she has an incredible gift of nurturing those around her. She is a highly educated, deeply compassionate and selfless individual who dedicates her unique and rich combination of attributes to the advancement of others.
Neda’s education and professional affiliations strengthen her capacity as a leader on issues affecting immigrant women. She has a B.A. in Sociology, an M.A. in Education, (focused in special education), an M.C. (Master of Counseling), a Jurist Doctorate and significant post-master-s studies, including coursework in criminal justice and family studies. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Telamon, a national transition resources corporation. She is a member of several professional organizations, such as the U.S. Attorney/Delaware Committee on Human Trafficking, American Counseling Association, National Board of Certified Counselors, national Immigration Project, Maryland Bar Association, Delaware Domestic Violence Coordinating Counsel Immigration Subcommittee, Delaware Victims Rights Task Force Subcommittee on Latino Immigrant Victims, and Attorney Pro Bono Committee in Caroline County, Maryland. She has over 50 hours of training in each of the following categories Community and Family Law Mediation Child Sexual Abuse, Grief/Loss, Domestic Violence, Trauma work, and “Alternatives to Violence Project”.