WASHINGTON (AP) — El mandatario Barack Obama impuso el viernes la Medalla Ciudadana Presidencial a un grupo de 18 activistas comunitarios, que incluyó a una colombiana criada en la capital estadounidense y a las seis educadoras asesinadas en la escuela de Connecticut en diciembre.
"María Gómez ha dedicado su vida a brindar atención médica de calidad a la comunidad que la crió", dijo Obama durante la ceremonia celebrada en la Casa Blanca.
"El enfoque integrado de su organización a los servicios sociales, educativos y médicos extiende una línea vital a decenas de miles cada año, dándole a las familias de DC la oportunidad de un futuro mejor. Estados Unidos homenajea a María Gómez por compartir su fortaleza con quienes no reciben los servicios necesarios", agregó.
Gómez creó en 1988 la organización Mary's Center, tras percatarse de la gran cantidad de inmigrantes latinoamericanos que no hablaban inglés y acudían al departamento de salud del Distrito de Colombia, donde ella laboraba como enfermera.
La organización asegura en su página web que actualmente atiende a más de 70.000 personas al año en sus cuatro sedes, con una generación de por lo menos 400 empleos y un presupuesto anual de 40 millones de dólares.
Obama entregó también la medalla a los parientes de las seis docentes asesinadas en la escuela primaria Sandy Hook. Leyó sus nombres uno por uno, y dijo que ofrendaron sus vidas para proteger a sus estudiantes. Ellas fueron Rachel Davino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach y Victoria Soto.
Los otros condecorados incluyeron al ex senador Harris Wofford y al pediatra Berry Brazelton que creó una evaluación clave para recién nacidos.
Obama dijo que los condecorados fueron seleccionados entre 6.000 postulaciones de todo el país.
La Medalla Ciudadana fue creada en 1969 para reconocer a los estadounidenses que han realizado labores comunitarias extraordinarias y que no han recibido la debida atención.
Luis Alonso Lugo está en Twitter como: https://twitter.com/luisalonsolugo
Activists Rally For Comprehensive Immigration Reform In Washington
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 08: Latinos and immigrants participate in a rally on immigration reform in front of the White House on November 8, 2012 in Washington, DC. Immigrant rights organizations called on President Barack Obama to fulfill his promise of passing comprehensive immigration reform. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Members of immigration rights organizations, including Casa in Action and Maryland Dream Act, demonstrate in front of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, calling on President Barack Obama to fulfill his promise of passing comprehensive immigration reform. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
FILE - In this Tuesday, June 15, 2010 file photo, immigration reform advocates march around the Federal Courthouse in downtown Denver. The group, which had more than 100 protesters, marched from the Colorado state Capitol to the federal courts to call for changes in the nation's immigration laws. Colorado's results for the 2012 presidential election will undoubtedly turn, in part, on Hispanics, who account for about 20 percent of the population in the state, and have, so far, overwhelmingly favored the president. Immigration actually ranks third in importance in polling of Hispanics, with the economy and education rating No. 1 and No. 2, says Floyd Ciruli, a Denver pollster. But, he says, "it's almost a litmus test issue - do you have at least sympathy and understand the issues we're dealing with?" (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
FILE - In this May 10, 2011 file photo, audience members listen to President Barack Obama speak about immigration reform at Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso, Texas. In advance of the November presidential election, the Obama campaign is wooing Hispanics with TV and radio ad campaigns accentuating positive messages. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2011 photo, college student Jasmine Oliver, of Warwick, R.I., top left, and Javier Gonzalez, of Pawtucket, R.I., top right, display a banner and shout their support for allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates while attending public colleges in the state, during a Board of Governors of Higher Education meeting on the campus of the Community College of Rhode Island, in Warwick, R.I. But research varies on the effects of resident tuition rates for illegal immigrants, including on enrollment, and students may still face a tough road even if they graduate with a college degree: Without passage of the DREAM Act or other federal immigration reform, illegal immigrant students have no pathway to legal status, and it remains illegal for employers to hire them. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
Antony Lopez, 10, left, Hillary Lopez, 11, and Angelita Lopez, 6, all of Arlington, Va., wear shirts that read "Don't Deport My Mom" next to their mother, Viviana Oxlaj, during a rally in support of immigration reform and the DREAM Act in Lafayette Park outside the White House in Washington, on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Supporters of the DREAM Act, including Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., third from right, wait to be arrested while performing an act of civil disobedience at a rally for supporting the DREAM Act and immigration reform outside the White House in Washington, on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2012 file photo, immigrant advocates use an image of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on a mock state driver's license during a rally in Santa Fe. A new poll has found that nearly three-fourths of New Mexico voters oppose a state law that allows immigrant immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. The poll commissioned by The Albuquerque Journal found that 71 percent of the states likely voters are against the 2003 state law. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras,File)
A demonstrator holds a sign supporting rights for undocumented immigrants at the 'March On Wall Street South' rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, ahead of the Democratic National Convention on September 2, 2012. Hundreds of people chanting slogans and carrying signs against and for an assortment of different causes marched through the city to protest what they said was seedy corporate influence on politics. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)
FILE - In this July 15, 2011 file photo, demonstrators hold signs in New York during a rally to condemn an immigration and customs enforcement program known as Secure Communities, and ICE's alleged refusal to meet with directly impacted immigrants. The signs read in Spanish "Deportations destroy our families." (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Tanya Hernandez, 4, demonstrates at a pro-immigration rally with others with the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights, Tuesday June 26, 2012 at City Hall in Los Angeles. The group was reacting to Monday's Supreme Court decision to overturn three parts of the Arizona law but uphold a section that requires police to check the status of people who might appear to be in the U.S. illegally. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Dozens of demonstrators protest at a "Right to Dream" rally Thursday May 17, 2012 in Los Angeles. The demonstrators were protesting the deportation of illegal immigrants by the Obama Administration. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Maria Sofia, Malendez Campos,
Students Maria Sofia, left, and Malendez Campos, protest at a "Right to Dream" rally Thursday May 17, 2012 in Los Angeles. The Demonstrators were protesting the deportation of illegal immigrants by the Obama Administration. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Activists Protest Outside Immigration Court Building In Chicago
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 15: Father Jose Landaverde and Emma Lazano sit in front of the building which houses immigration court during a protest May 15, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The two where later arrested along with at least two others at the protest where demonstrators were calling for immigration reform. This was the second day of protests in what is expected to be a full week of demonstrations as the city prepares to host the NATO Summit May 20-21. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)