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With Tahirih’s 21st Annual Gala underway, Co-Chairs Rabia Sheikh and Will Mudge took to the stage to extend sincere thanks to the event’s Master of Ceremonies, Eun Yang, and lead sponsor, PepsiCo, Congressional Co-Chairs, and the Gala committee who were so instrumental to the evening’s success.

Sheik expressed her immense gratitude to Tahirih staff, “both here with us tonight and across the country, for your tireless work on behalf of women and girls who dream of a better, safer life. Your patience, positivity, grit, and innovation, are what make this organization the best at what we do. We are beyond grateful for your service.”

With that, Sheik turned the crowd’s attention to this year’s honorees, the “individuals and companies who display true dedication, inspiring leadership, and unwavering sacrifice – to support Tahirih and its clients.” Each honoree was presented with flowers, in appreciation for their tireless efforts to assist each client on her path to a more prosperous life.

Mudge first recognized Kelly Tullier and Visa Inc. as recipients of Tahirih’s Corporate Leadership Award. “Visa is committed to helping low-income, financially under-served small enterprises, improving their livelihoods and ultimately lifting up their communities. As Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Visa and a member of Tahirih’s Board of Directors since 2013, Kelly is able to combine her legal background with her passion to help women and girls who are subject to human rights abuses lead fulfilling lives here in the United States.”

Next to be recognized was DLA Piper, Tahirih Greater DC’s Law Firm of the Year.  Mudge continued on to say, “With attorneys located in more than 40 countries around the globe, DLA Piper is honored to collaborate with Tahirih in standing against gender-based violence and assisting immigrant women and girls in gaining the justice they deserve and are so entitled under U.S. law. Most recently, DLA Piper attorneys and staff were instrumental in supporting the Justice for Mothers Project, led by an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Tahirih, which played a fundamental role in helping Central American women with children access asylum.”

Catherine Bernard was then honored as Tahirih Greater DC’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. Mudge praised Ms. Bernard, who “successfully represented numerous asylum seekers over her 13-year career at Mayer Brown. In addition to her pro bono work with Tahirih, Catherine is a member of Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition’s Legal Advisory Committee and works hard to help immigrant women and children overcome trauma and find safety here in the U.S.”

Finally, Claudia Acevedo was recognized as Tahirih Greater DC’s Volunteer of the Year. “For the past ten years, Claudia has dedicated her free time to volunteering with Tahirih and other pro bono organizations in Greater DC. As a native Spanish speaker, Claudia has provided Tahirih with vital translation services, as many of the women seeking asylum are from Spanish-speaking countries.”

The audience provided resounding applause to these champions who are tireless advocates for women and girls on their courageous journey towards a brighter, safer future.

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