At Tahirih San Francisco’s 2nd Annual Bay Area Benefit, Tahirih CEO and Founder, Layli Miller-Muro, encouraged attendees to pick up a hammer and help Tahirih rebuild our justice system to protect those who need it most, the survivors of the current humanitarian crisis.
We are waking up to this reality. These are times when we can tear down the old and build the new. All of us in this room are the construction workers the world needs. And, make no mistake … this is a revolution.
In Tahirih’s 22 years of service, it has answered more than 27,000 calls for help from women and girls fleeing gender-based persecution and human rights abuses. It’s holistic model for protection combines free legal and social services with bridge-building policy advocacy and researched-based training and education. Thanks to Bay Area supporters, with only two years under its belt, Tahirih San Francisco’s 2nd Annual Bay Area Benefit raised more than $300,000 and invited attendees to recommit themselves to ending violence against women.
Because of you, the San Francisco office is a leader in the immigrant community in the Bay Area. Its incredible staff, under Executive Director Morgan Weibel’s amazing leadership, are providing critically-needed legal protection to large numbers of immigrant women and girls. Because of you, Tahirih now has offices in five cities, with a staff of almost 100 dedicated women and men across the nation. Because of you, we maintain a national network of more than 2,500 pro bono professionals from over 400 leading law firms and fortune 500 companies, whose donation of time and resources multiplies every dollar you donate into greater impact.
But, despite the successes of the San Francisco office and Tahirih offices around the country, there is still work to be done. There is still a revolution to join. There is still a fight for equality, justice, and freedom. And though the work that needs to be done is daunting in its colossal size and implication, there are opportunities in the crisis.
We are witnessing a dual phenomenon in the world right now. On one hand, we are seeing the slow death of old ways of doing things; beliefs that are stuck in prejudices of the past; and the failure of institutions that do not work to serve the interests of all people in society. On the other hand, we are seeing the birth of a new order. One that is finally expressing outrage and the need for accountability for harassment and violence against women; one that calls out racism and demands that we all look at our own biases; and one that sees clearly, unlike we ever have in the past that the system is overwhelmed and broken.
This year, we have seen women go to the greatest lengths to keep their children safe. Traveling thousands of miles without food, water, or even the promise of justice. Having their toddlers ripped from their arms, sleeping in the cold, denied their rights as human beings, but never wavering. Determined to create a better world for their children, for future generations of women, for humankind, never wilting.