What: New Friends New Life luncheon
Where: Omni Dallas Hotel
The 411: More than 1,000 guests helped New Friends New Life mark 20 years of successful awareness and outreach to victims of human sex trafficking at its annual luncheon in November.
The luncheon featured Academy Award-nominated actress Uma Thurman as keynote speaker and raised $1.3 million to help the organization continue its mission to restore and empower formally trafficked and sexually exploited women, teens, and children.
New Friends New Life Founders Nancy Ann Hunt, Pat Schenkel, and Gail Turner were honored for their vision to create the organization two decades ago to help one woman. Today the nonprofit has reached thousands of women who have been victims of sex trafficking and has expanded its mission and services to encompass the broader scope of educating and preventing “modern-day slavery.”
Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson gave the invocation, and former NFL player and Men’s Advocacy Group board member Tyler Clutts introduced this year’s ProtectHER award recipients: Victor Boutros, founder of the Human Trafficking Institute (international recipient); Becca Stevens, founder and president of Thistle Farms (national recipient); the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (state recipient); and The Dallas Morning News (local recipient).
New Friends New Life CEO Kim Robinson reminded attendees of the work that the nonprofit has been able to accomplish in 20 years. Marla and Mike Boone served as the luncheon’s honorary chairs, while Connie Kleinert Babikian, McCall Cravens, and Jill Meyer were co-chairs.
The event culminated in an on-stage conversation with Thurman conducted by NFNL board member Shelly Slater. Thurman said she was “absolutely blown away by what’s going on” regarding the accomplishments of NFNL. “I’m so moved by this love-based conversation,” she said. “What I see in this room is what is missing in other parts of the world — a lack of judgment, love, and support …. We need more of a commitment to support that in women.”
After talking about the mission to end human trafficking, Thurman also discussed her personal life. She talked about her childhood growing up in a family with three brothers and moving to New York City alone at the age of 15 to model. She is the proud mother of three children. Her son Levon is 16 and daughter Luna is 6. Her oldest daughter Maya is now following in her mom’s footsteps and is acting in the series “Stranger Things,” she said.
Who: Keana Meyer, State Rep. Morgan Meyer, Brendan Miniter, Margaret Bassett, Regina Mullins, Katherine Wynne, Sandy Schwan, Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Lola Vinson, Akilah Wallace, Stephanie Bernal, Priya Murphy, Daniel Murphy, Laura Robertson, Jessica Brazeal, Lynn Day, Shelly Lloyd, Jessica Turner Waugh, Bianca Jackson, Deputy Constable Bertha Rivera Roop, and Deputy Sheriff José Sorola.