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On Saturday, September 21, 2019, Tahirih Houston held its 8th Annual Gala, welcoming 450 donors, volunteers, clients, and supporters for an evening of celebration and conversation. The night was a huge success — we raised $656,045 for courageous women and girls who refuse to be victims of violence!

Actor and musician Penn Badgley served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies and was excited to celebrate the commemoration of Tahirih Houston’s tenth successful year championing the cause of ending violence against women and girls.

Since his introduction to Tahirih in 2018, Penn has been a staunch advocate for our clients on their journey to justice. Throughout the evening, he emphasized that this fight for justice cannot be done alone, that we rely on a broader network of social justice organizations that must work together to end the many ways historic oppression still manifests in our society and our world.

That broader network includes the work of the evening’s Keynote Speaker, Dr. Joy DeGruy. Joy gave the audience a truthful, moving, and thought-provoking journey into our past. With more than thirty years of experience in the field of social work and through the critical lens of our nation’s history, Joy used her expertise to explore the current moment our society by focusing on the intersection of racism, trauma, and violence. She acknowledged that the attacks we see on the immigrant community today are rooted in our history of separating families and othering individuals based on their skin color, nationality, and gender.

Tahirih CEO and Founder Layli Miller-Muro thanked all of our Houston supporters for not only taking a seat at the table, but for joining these difficult, necessary conversations. Throughout the night, there was one clear message from those who took the stage: we are repeating our history as a nation, and it is within our power to connect as one human family and fight for justice.

“It is within our power to refuse to repeat our history. To refuse to separate children from their parents. To ensure that the treatment of human beings who have risked everything to get here aren’t just treated by legal standards, but are truly cared for as humans. It is within our power to simply believe in women. And it is within our power to treat people with compassion – to treat people in a way that supports us all as one human family. Only then can we create a world where we can all live free from violence.” – Layli Miller-Muro

Another evening highlight came when Houston Executive Director Anne Chandler was presented with an official proclamation from the City of Houston for her decade of service to the community! With her leadership came tremendous growth for the Tahirih Houston office — it is now Tahirih’s largest office!

“In 2009, our office was just a staff of 2. Today, a decade later, we are a staff of 22. Last year alone, we provided services to 1,655 women and children, and we trained and educated more than 7,000 community members and frontline professionals. Houston is a resilient and compassionate community. With all the work ahead of us, we will continue to make change and positively impact the world around us.”

Anne thanked the many individuals and 2019 honorees for their service, dedication, and passion since Tahirih Houston opened their doors 10 years ago. The 2019 Firm of the Year, Baker Botts LLP; the Volunteer of the Year, Maria Daisy Quintanilla; the Catalysts of the Year, Morgan and David Shin; and the Courageous Voice Honoree, Maria.

Thank you to all of the supporters and advocates whose generous support keeps Tahirih’s doors open and able to serve more women and girls in the Houston community. Thank you for ensuring that every person who walks through our door is encouraged to continue on their path to justice, to remain hopeful, and to build a life for themselves and their families in safety and with dignity.

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