American Airlines and Dr. Monique W. Morris will be recognized on October 8th at the annual luncheon
By Elizabeth Lenart | Contributor
American Airlines and Dr. Monique W. Morris were announced as the 2021 ProtectHER Award recipients at the New Friends New Life Annual Luncheon Launch Party, hosted by New Friends New Life on September 22. The award recipients will be honored at the annual New Friends New Life luncheon, featuring a virtual conversation with Lupita Nyong’o on October 8, 11:30 a.m., at the OMNI Dallas Hotel.
American Airlines will be honored as a ProtectHER Award recipient for its commitment, in partnership with Jones Day, to helping remove the barriers of a criminal record obtained as a direct result of trafficking and exploitation partnership in the fight against human trafficking and child exploitation. In 2020 American began a partnership with NFNL, aiming to raise awareness of human trafficking and support the needs of victims and survivors in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Additionally, their legal team launched a new pro bono program to enable members of the team to volunteer to provide free legal services to people in need. In partnership with attorneys at Jones Day, American participated in an initiative led by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, providing legal help to Dallas-area residents ― including human trafficking survivors ― who were qualified to have offenses expunged. Expunging the records of these victims opens the door to a fresh start including better employment and housing as well as education.
Dr. Monique W. Morris, Ed.D., an award-winning author and social justice scholar with three decades of experience in the areas of education, civil rights, juvenile and social justice, will be recognized as a ProtectHER award recipient for her work educating the community on the disparities facing girls of color –a demographic that is disproportionately trafficked and exploited. Dr. Morris is president and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, committed to building a world in which all girls and gender-expansive youth of color are healthy, safe and thriving and fully empowered to dream and shape their desired reality on their terms. Her enlightening book and documentary, PUSHOUT, has demonstrated how the criminalization of Black girls in schools pushes girls out into the streets into trauma and violence. Her work has been profiled by MSNBC, CSPAN2, The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR, and PBS, among other national and local print, radio, and television media.
“This year’s ProtectHER Award recipients are doing life-changing, impactful work, critical to our mission to improve the lives of trafficked and exploited women and girls who need our voice.”
“In addition to their extensive training program identifying and stopping traffickers, American Airlines is giving our members a new start on life by providing pro-bono legal services to expunge their records. Dr. Monique W. Morris is providing a transformative voice for young girls of color impacted by sex trafficking. By working together, we can continue to safeguard the rights of women and girls who are at-risk or have already suffered the trauma of human trafficking,” said Bianca Davis, CEO of New Friends New Life.
Luncheon Co-Chairs Trina Terrell-Andrews and Jan Osborn joined Honorary Chairs Charlie and Tonya McKinney in generating excitement about the upcoming luncheon while visiting with the 70 attendees throughout the evening.
“We are so pleased to have Tonya and Charlie as this year’s honorary chairs,” said Bianca Davis, CEO, New Friends New Life. “For many years they have demonstrated an incredible commitment to the youth of this community, ultimately helping them find confidence, make good decisions, and change the trajectory of their futures – a perfect complement to the goals of our programs at New Friends New Life.”
Launch party guests, including Robin Bagwell, Brad Cheves, Kimberly Clifton, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Jane Rose, Pat Schenkel, Beth Thoele, and Gail Turner, enjoyed gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from Ruthie’s Rolling Café, ice cream from Baldo’s, and wine courtesy of STARPOWER.
Tours of New Friends New Life were provided throughout the evening. Guests also had the opportunity to learn more about the luncheon’s raffle items, including a “Travel to Your Dream Destination” package with 250,000 miles from American Airlines; “Treat You and Yours,” including fresh flowers delivered to your home every other month for a year from Garden Gate; an Isabella Guillien portrait; and $2,000 from Eiseman Jewels; and “Tasty Gourmet Gathering,” a two-hour grilled cheese party for 50 people hosted by Ruthie’s Rolling Café food truck.
NFNL CEO Bianca Davis recognized sponsors, host committee, staff, board, and co-chairs, the ProtectHER Award recipients and introduced Luncheon Co-Chair Jan Osborn, who has been involved with NFNL for more than 20 years and shared her personal story of the early days of the nonprofit.
Luncheon media sponsors are The Dallas Morning News, PaperCity, and NBC 5. Additional sponsors include Nancy and Rand Best, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Highlands Residential Mortgage (Empress Sponsors), Tracey Nash-Huntley and David Huntley, Tonya and Charlie McKinney, Pat and Pete Schenkel/Gail and Dr. R. Gerald Turner; and Beth and Chuck Thoele (Peacock Sponsors).
“Texas ranks second in the highest number of trafficking victims in the country, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area has the second-highest number of victims in the state,” added Davis. “When organizations and individuals such as these join the fight against sex trafficking, it fortifies our ability to empower survivors, hold traffickers and buyers accountable and prevent this $99 million crime from thriving in our community. We congratulate each of this year’s recipients on a job well done and appreciate their ongoing commitment to make a difference.”
Underwriting sponsorship opportunities begin at $2,500, and individual tickets are available for $250. A limited number of virtual access-only tickets can be purchased for $100. To reserve your sponsorship or seats, please visit www.newfriendsnewlife.org/luncheon or contact Senior Development Director Priya Murphy at 214-217-8652.
About New Friends New Life:
Founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1998, New Friends New Life (NFNL) restores and empowers trafficked and sexually exploited teen girls, women and their children, and drives awareness of the issue and its prevalence. By providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health, and spiritual support, New Friends New Life helps women and their children overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty, and limited opportunities. In 2020, NFNL served 330 members (clients). NFNL also educates the community and works to eradicate the epidemic of human trafficking through advocacy, legislative reform and strategic partnerships that address systemic causes. In 2018, NFNL opened a drop-in Youth Resource Center (YRC) in partnership with the Office of the Governor to serve trafficked and high-risk teen girls. More than 100 girls visited the YRC during its first year. In 2015, NFNL organized its Men’s Advocacy Group to engage men in the fight against sex trafficking and exploitation. For more information, visit http://www.newfriendsnewlife.org.