Mornings at the Miller-Muro household are abuzz with activity. With three young children to guide into the new day, Layli Miller-Muro and her husband, Gil, always have a long to-do list.
“The fact that Layli is able to consistently be there for our children every morning would in itself make her an awesome mother in my eyes. What makes her even more remarkable is that somewhere during the morning chaos she also gets herself ready and out the door to work, where hundreds of young women’s lives depend on her efforts every day,” reflects Gil Miller-Muro.
Gil isn’t the only one who is impressed.
Layli Miller-Muro, the founder and executive director of Tahirih Justice Center, has been named the DC Young Mother of the Year. She will accept her award this Saturday at the historic Willard Hotel in Washington, DC.
The DC Young Mother of the Year award is being presented by American Mothers Inc., a national NGO that champions women by honoring, educating, and serving mothers at home, at work, and in the world. Through its advocacy, the non-profit also seeks to reduce rates of violence in the United States and around the world. Each year, American Mothers Inc. honors outstanding mothers across the United States for their contributions to their families and communities.
As an honoree, Layli is in distinguished company. Former awardees include Phyllis Marriott, of the Marriott hotel chain, Corinne “Lindy” Boggs, the first congresswoman from Louisiana, and Hillary Clinton, a 2015 presidential candidate and former Secretary of State.
Layli is being recognized not only for her selfless dedication to her three small children, but also for her dedication to protecting immigrant women and girls fleeing violence through her leadership of Tahirih Justice Center.
Tahirih Justice Center is a national non-profit that protects immigrant women and girls who refuse to be victims of gender-based violence through free legal and social services, public policy advocacy, and training and education. The women and girls Tahirih serves have rejected unthinkable violence, including rape, female genital mutilation, domestic violence, human trafficking, honor crimes, and forced marriage. Tahirih is a Bahá’í-inspired organization that Layli founded in 1997 on the belief that the achievement of full equality between women and men is necessary for society to progress.
Since Tahirih opened its doors in 1997, the nonprofit has assisted nearly 17,000 heroic women and children. In 2014 alone, Tahirih provided free legal and social services to 909 women and girls across its three offices in Baltimore, Greater DC, and Houston so that they could rebuild their lives in the wake of violence.
“Layli has an unwavering focus on providing access to justice for as many women and children as possible, while concurrently balancing her own family’s needs and the needs of her growing staff,” said Maeve O’Higgins, Tahirih’s Special Advisor to the Executive Director. “Beyond her immediate family, Layli is also a ‘mom’ to her fifty staff. She motivates and nurtures each and every one of us.”
Layli is a mother to Kalil, 3, Amira, 7, and Serena, 11.
She is candid about the difficulty of juggling work and home life, but says she feels an obligation, as someone with many privileges, to use her education and status to serve the most vulnerable among us. Each day, Layli says she is inspired by the courage of the mothers served at Tahirih.
Globally, one in three women will experience violence or abuse in her lifetime—most often at the hands of someone she knows.
“The women we serve find the strength to say ‘no’ to violence that is difficult for most of us to imagine. They hold the hands of their children and have to explain why they must leave behind everything they know—their homes, their families, their possessions—in pursuit of a simple dream, a life of safety and dignity. They face incredible odds to enrich the lives of their children, and it is their courage that is transforming the world,” Layli said.
Layli will give a short speech to American Mothers Inc., and then, will attend the American Mothers Gala, where the 2015 National Young Mother and 2015 National Mother of the Year will be selected from this year’s state-level nominees.