PHOTOPHILE- Immigrant soul: Grisham hosts Legal Aid learning party

A crush of guests pour into the Paramount.

Thursday, October 23 was a festive yet thought-provoking night at the Paramount Theater, as benefactors and friends of the Legal Aid Justice Center gathered to see a new film that tackles the thorny subject of immigration as it has played out in Prince William County.

There, in that northern Virginia suburb, documentary filmmakers Eric Byler and Annabel Park made 9500Liberty, after county supervisors passed ordinances demanding denial of some county services to undocumented immigrants and requiring that officers check immigration status during routine traffic stops. 

Here, the film served as the highlight to an educational and festive evening that opened with a catered reception upstairs in the theater annex, part of the $16.2 million renovation that wrapped four years ago.

Best-selling author John Grisham, a longtime Center benefactor, served as master of ceremonies for the film and panel discussion that followed. The event, the Center's annual fundraiser, raised $150,000, according to the development director, Susan Kruse. Were the pledges made before the financial panic?

"People have been giving generously," answered Kruse, "all year."

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