Amal Clooney’s star power pushes vital Dallas luncheon to $1 million tally
What: 13th annual New Friends New Life Wings Luncheon
Where: Hilton Anatole
The 411: A sold-out crowd of 1,700 hung on every word from international law expert Amal Clooney as she spoke about the fight to end sex trafficking and commercial exploitation. The most anticipated speaker on the Dallas luncheon circuit, Clooney did not disappoint.
Luncheon chair the Honorable Jeanne Phillips and honorary co-chairs Laura Bush, Ruth Altshuler, Caren Prothro, and Annette Simmons — along with board chair Nancy Ann Hunt — welcomed the celeb to the New Friends New Life gathering, which was not only Clooney's first visit to Dallas, but also her first time giving a speech in the U.S.
WFAA reporter Shelly Slater moderated as Clooney discussed how the work of New Friends New Life has impacted women both local and global.
“You don’t have to be a lawyer … to show compassion,” said Clooney. “Everyone can play a role. Everyone knows someone who is need."
Serving approximately 1,000 women and children annually, New Friends New Life provides holistic services for sexually exploited girls, women, and their children, including access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health, and spiritual support. The luncheon helped raised over $1 million for that mission.
“As a human rights activist on a global scale, Amal Clooney is a strong voice to advocate against a crime that is happening in our own backyard,” says Wings Luncheon chair Jeanne Phillips. “The subject of sex trafficking was rarely spoken of just a few years ago, but thanks to the work of organizations like New Friends New Life and a community willing to step forward with funding, we are making huge strides to end human trafficking in Dallas and throughout Texas.”
Samantha Casas, a student at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, spoke at the luncheon before Clooney. Casas has worked on anti-trafficking projects and emphasized the importance of helping victims, a message that Clooney drove home with her strong words.
“If nonprofits can make a difference to just one woman, the work is worth it,” added Clooney. “New Friends New Life gives hope. It’s about being resilient and never giving up.”
Who: Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt,Gene Jones, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Debbie Tolleson, Lisa Troutt, Lana Andrews,Elizabeth Carlock Phillips, Laura Barker Carlock,Lisa and Clay Cooley, Lydia Addy, Nancy Dedman,Aliya Khatri, Joyce Lacerte, Shelle Sills,Mary M. Jalonick, Gayla Plunkett,Annette Simmons, Amy Simmons, Marianne Staubach, Sue Strauss, Betty and Steve Suellentrop, Dr. Melissa D. Tonn, and Gail and Gerald Turner.