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Houston Gala


Saturday, September 21, 2019
6:00 p.m. VIP Reception
6:30 p.m. General Reception
7:00 p.m. Dinner & Program


The Revaire
7122 Old Katy Rd
Houston, Texas


Monica Karuturi & Kumaran Sathyamoorthy

Please join the Tahirih Justice Center for our 8th Annual Houston Gala! This year, we are proud to celebrate resilient survivors of violence who, against all odds, continue the fight for justice and safety by ensuring that their voices are heard. Their stories inspire and encourage us all to continue breaking down the barriers so that we may create a world where all women enjoy equality.

In our tenth year, Tahirih Houston is honored to work alongside these powerful storytellers and a community committed to uplifting their voices.

Check back for event updates and ticket sales. In the meantime, please see below for more details, sponsorship opportunities, and ticket prices.

To sponsor the event, please download the 2019 Houston Gala Sponsorship Form. To request additional information, please contact Christine Spencer at



General Admission Tickets
Access to General Admission Gala Reception
Seated Dinner & Program

VIP Tickets
Access to VIP Gala Reception
Premier Seating for Dinner & Program



TTo sponsor the event, please download the 2019 Tahirih Houston Gala Sponsorship Form To request additional information, please contact Christine Spencer at

$100,000 +
20 Premier Seats (2 tables of 10)
Access to VIP Gala Reception for 20
Name & link recognition on gala webpage* & social media
Name & photo/logo on digital presentation
Name recognition on event signage*
Full page evening program recognition*

$50,000 +
20 Premier Seats (2 tables of 10)
Access to VIP Gala Reception for 10
Name & link recognition on gala webpage* & social media
Name & photo/logo on digital presentation*
Name recognition on event signage*
1/2 page evening program recognition*

$25,000 +
16 Premier Seats (2 tables of 8)
Access to VIP Gala Reception for 8
Name & link recognition on gala webpage
Name & photo/logo on digital presentation*
Name recognition on event signage & evening program*

$15,000 +
12 Premier Seats (1 table of 12)
Access to VIP Gala Reception for 6
Name & link recognition on gala webpage*
Name recognition on event signage, digital presentation & evening program* 

$10,000 +
10 Premier Seats (1 table of 10)
Access to VIP Gala Reception for 4
Name & link recognition on gala webpage*
Name recognition on event signage, digital presentation & evening program* 

$5,000 +
8 Premier Seats (partial table)
Access to VIP Gala Reception for 2
Name & link recognition on gala webpage*
Name recognition on event signage, digital presentation & evening program*

$2,500 +
4 Premier Seats (partial table)
Access to VIP Gala Reception for 2
Name & link recognition on gala webpage*
Name recognition on event signage, digital presentation & evening  program*

*Sponsorship must be confirmed by the following deadlines for inclusion in gala materials:
Printed invitation: Friday, June 21
Evening program & event signage: Monday, September 2
Gala webpage & digital event materials: Wednesday, September 18


Gala Chairs
Monica Karuturi & Kumaran Sathyamoorthy

Host Committee
Olivia & Bill Benitez
Mitch & Don Gibbons
Melanie Gray & Mark Wawro
Celina & Doug Joachim
Jen & Shawn Kavoussi
Christine & Craig LaFollette
Kalli O’Malley & Terry Giles
Morgan & David Shin
Rishi & Michelle Varma
Enoch & Solana Varner
Natara Williams


Dr. Joy DeGruy, Research & Educator

Ms. Joy Angela DeGruy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication, a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, and a PhD in Social Work Research. Ms. DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher and educator.  For over two decades, she served as an Assistant Professor at Portland State University’s School of Social Work and now serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Joy DeGruy Publications Inc. 

Ms. DeGruy’s research focuses on the intersection of racism, trauma, violence and American chattel slavery. She has over thirty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work. She conducts workshops and trainings in the areas of intergenerational/historical trauma, mental health, social justice, improvement strategies and evidence-based model development. 

Ms. DeGruy has published numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters and authored her seminal book entitled “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury & Healing”.  She has also developed an assessment scale for measuring respect with regard to African American male youth.

Layli Miller-Muro

CEO & Founder, Tahirih Justice Center

Layli Miller-Muro is the Founder and Executive Director of the Tahirih Justice Center. She established Tahirih in 1997 following her involvement in a high-profile case that set national precedent and revolutionized asylum law in the United States. Fauziya Kassindja, a 17-year-old girl who had fled Togo in fear of a forced polygamous marriage and female genital mutilation, was granted asylum in 1996 by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals. This decision opened the door to gender-based persecution as grounds for asylum. Using her portion of the proceeds from a book she and Ms. Kassindja co-authored about the case, “Do They Hear You When You Cry?,” Layli established Tahirih.

Since 2001, Layli has led Tahirih in its service to more than 27,000 women and children, growing the non-profit from a staff of six to over 100, located in offices in Atlanta GA, Baltimore MD, Greater Washington DC, Houston TX, and the San Francisco Bay Area CA.

Prior to joining Tahirih as Executive Director, Layli was an attorney at the law firm of Arnold & Porter, where she practiced international litigation and maintained a substantial pro bono practice. Prior to joining Arnold & Porter, Layli was an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals.

Layli is a frequent lecturer and has appeared in numerous news outlets including CNN, Fox News, The New York Times, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. She lives in the Greater Washington, D.C. area with her husband, three children, and dog, Anis.


Anne Chandler, JD

Anne has served as Houston’s Executive Director since the office opened its doors in 2009, and in that tie has proven to be a fearless leader and tireless advocate for both Tahirih’s clients and her own staff. She propelled Houston’s growth as a one-woman show to Tahirih’s largest direct services office of nearly 20 (and counting). Under Anne’s leadership, the Houston office has served nearly 5,000 survivors and their families, formed countless coalitions and community partnerships, and engaged in critical community outreach, training, and education efforts that have reached more than 35,000 individuals in the greater Houston area. She also recently spearheaded the launch of Tahirih’s first local public policy team, created to combat a shifting landscape that has led to a climate of fear among immigrant communities.

Anne is a cum laude graduate of the University of Houston Law Center where she received a Distinguished Service Award and won the Joan Glantz Garfinkel Scholarship for civil liberties research, served on the Houston Law Review, and was the President of the Public Interest Law Organization, focusing on provision of services to children detailed in Harlingen, Texas. Prior to joining Tahirih, Anne was Director of Immigration Legal Services for the YMCA International Services of Greater Houston before becoming a Clinical Professor for the University of Houston Law Center, where she served as the Interim Director of the Immigration Law Clinic.

As a strong believer in the legal profession’s ability to implement innovative approaches to eradicate human trafficking in Texas, Anne also teaches Human Trafficking Law & Policy as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston Law Center. She serves as a member of the Houston Area Council on Human Trafficking and the Mayor’s anti-trafficking task force, as well as serves on the Board of the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and the Board of Houston’s Immigration Legal Services Collaborative (HILSC).

Anne is an avid outdoor enthusiast and proud mother of two boys.



In her home country of Guatemala, Maria and her family were targets of gang violence and extortion because of their indigenous descent. But Maria was always a fighter who chose to seek justice. Maria went to the police when her family became victims of extreme violence, but they did nothing. Instead, the gangs found out and retaliated. When Maria’s partner became abusive and refused to help care for their newborn, she went to the courts. Her case was dismissed, and her abuser nearly killed her.

To save both their lives, Maria fled her home country with her one-year-old in tow. With Tahirih’s help, she won a long and difficult case, and finally achieved safety and justice. Tahirih is honored to recognize Maria at the gala, where she will share her courageous story and use her voice to seek justice for women in her community.


Baker Botts LLP 

Baker Botts has been a longstanding partner to Tahirih’s Houston office for nearly 10 years and has been instrumental in Tahirih’s ability to grow in the Houston area and serve thousands of immigrant survivors. Their attorneys have provided compassionate, dedicated expertise to Tahirih’s clients and have helped protect countless immigrant survivors in the community.

Baker Botts has long been committed to the communities in which they live and work. In Houston, Baker Botts partners with 15 pro bono referral organizations; globally, their lawyers dedicate 30,000 hours annually to pro bono service, including numerous life-changing cases that advocate for children at risk and families in need, exonerate the innocent, and assist the homeless.


Morgan & David Shin

Morgan and David are some of Tahirih’s longest-standing supporters. Prior to the existence of Tahirih’s Houston office, they met Layli Miller-Muro at a Peace Conference held in Houston and were truly inspired by Layli’s dedication to social justice.

When Houston’s Tahirih office opened in 2009, they eagerly became involved in fundraising, establishing Tahirih within the community, and creating a medical network to serve Tahirih clients (David also personally evaluates Tahirih clients for medical examinations that are required for asylum cases). They have been a constant source of strength, compassion, and stability for the Houston office ever since.

Morgan was born in Tehran, Iran and emigrated to the United States with her family to escape the religious persecution of Baha’is. David was born in Seoul, South Korea and emigrated to the United States so his parents could provide their children with better educational opportunities. They both came to Houston to begin careers in medicine; Morgan is a Registered Nurse, and David is a Vascular Surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital.

Morgan and David have three children, boy-girl twins who started college this Fall, and an eighth-grade daughter. Their favorite activities include traveling and meeting people from diverse backgrounds.


Maria Daisy Quintanilla

Maria is the proud daughter of a resolute, Honduran-born woman and was inspired to volunteer with the Tahirih Justice Center after seeing the impact they have on the lives of immigrant women and children in Houston. Her dedication to service also led her to serve as an Air Force officer for nearly 5 years, where she met the love of her life, Clint. Her happiest moments have been on motorcycle adventures with her husband and enjoying Honduran and El Salvadorian cuisine with her family.

Maria holds an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She hopes to continue serving her community by pursuing a career in medicine upon completion of her M.S. in biological sciences from the University of Houston-Clear Lake this Fall.

The Revaire
7122 Old Katy Rd
Houston, Texas