Lunching for a Cause
Trailblazing actress Christina Ricci shows support for The Family Place in Dallas
Recently Emmy-nominated actress Christina Ricci was the keynote speaker at The Family Place's Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon on September 23 at the Omni Dallas Hotel.
Ricci — known for her roles in such movies as The Addams Family, Mermaids, and Now and Then, and the hit Showtime series Yellowjackets — posed for pictures and mingled with VIP guests prior to the luncheon's start.
As the more than 550 guests found their seats in the ballroom, they listened to recreated calls received through The Family Place's 24-hour crisis hotline. The Family Place CEO Mimi Crume Sterling then welcomed patrons and shared how The Family Place removes barriers to ensure brighter futures for survivors of family violence.
Host Andrea Lucia from CBS Channel 11 introduced the invocation from Rabbi Nancy Kasten with Faith Commons and Chaplin Carlos R. Bell of Baylor Scott & White Health.
Co-chairs Jeannie Barsam, Stacee Johnson-Williams, and Lisa Sherrod shared their personal connections to family violence. Each guest was given a “shoe card” at their place setting that lists the signs of abuse and The Family Place’s contact information to share with anyone in need.
The Texas Trailblazer Awards have, since 1996, honored those who create positive change in the community. This year’s recipient was Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who is set to retire in January 2023 after serving her 15th term representing the 30th Congressional District of Texas.
She is the first African American female to chair the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and is also the highest-ranking Texan on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In 2020, she introduced the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which received bipartisan support, was signed into law, and created the recently introduced 9-8-8 hotline.
“Congresswoman Johnson leads by example, working tirelessly to help others and create change at the local, state, and national level,” Sterling said. “This year’s Texas Trailblazer goes above and beyond the call of duty to make Texas and our United States a better place.”
Patty Bryant-Jones, domestic violence survivor and a case manager at The Family Place, then shared her story via an inspiring and moving video of life after abuse, and how she was able to create a brighter future.
Ricci then took the stage to discuss her decades-long entertainment industry career, experiences, and personal hurdles. Ricci stressed the importance of organizations such as The Family Place in educating and supporting domestic violence survivors.
Spotted in the crowd were Clarisa Lindenmeyer, Elizabeth Chow, Lauren McKinnon, Denise Wolford, Karen Danage, Theresa Little, Diana Aguirre, Theresa Flores, Delia Jasso, Irish Burch, Murphey Sears, Nancy Bierman, Elizabeth Ward Creel, Andrea Cheek, Nikki Webb, and Lynn McBee.
In addition to donations, guests were encouraged to purchase raffle tickets in support of The Family Place. Raffle items included a $1,000 gift certificate to Miron Crosby; a two-night stay at any Omni property valued at $1,000; a $400 gift certificate to Al Biernat’s; $4,000 toward a Naturepedic mattress; and 1 ct. solitaire diamond earrings and a Bulova Latin Grammy watch, both donated by Zales.
All funds raised go to support prevention, intervention, restoration, and educational programs for survivors of family violence. For more information on The Family Place, visit familyplace.org.
To conclude the afternoon, Lucia announced the 2023 Texas Trailblazer Awards date, September 29, 2023, and announced next year’s event chairs, Lindsay Jacaman and Holly Krug.
Irish Burch, Murphey SearsPhoto by Tamytha Cameron, Celeste Cass
Jeannie Barsam, Lisa Sherrod, Stacee Johnson-WilliamsPhoto by Tamytha Cameron, Celeste Cass
Mimi Sterling, Nakita Johnson, Lauren McKinnonPhoto by Tamytha Cameron, Celeste Cass
Nancy Bierman, Elizabeth Ward Creel, Andrea CheekPhoto by Tamytha Cameron, Celeste Cass
Nikki Webb, Lynn McBeePhoto by Tamytha Cameron, Celeste Cass
Patty Bryant-JonesPhoto by Tamytha Cameron, Celeste Cass
Theresa Little, Christina RicciPhoto by Tamytha Cameron, Celeste Cass
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice JohnsonPhoto by Tamytha Cameron, Celeste Cass
Clarisa Lindenmeyer, Elizabeth Chow, Lauren McKinnonPhoto by Tamytha Cameron, Celeste Cass