This year marks a monumental milestone for Tahirih Justice Center: 25 years of serving immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. At our 25th Anniversary Gala in May, we celebrated what this incredible community of survivors, supporters, and partners has achieved since Tahirih opened its doors in 1997. We have served more than 31,000 survivors, thanks to the faith they place in us and the generosity of Tahirih’s supporters.
While we have made so much progress toward ending gender-based violence, we recognize we still have a long road ahead. To pursue our dream of a world in which all people can live safely and with dignity, we continue to amplify survivors’ voices in our advocacy efforts and provide the support and resources they need to thrive as they rebuild their lives.
Tahirih has provided legal or social services or other support to more than 2,600 individuals so far this year, thanks to the 996 pro bono attorneys and 114 law firms working with Tahirih clients on their cases, as well as our network of dedicated social services professionals. Tahirih staff continues to look for new and innovative ways to help survivors rebuild their lives:
- Tahirih Greater DC-Baltimore formed valuable partnerships to meet clients’ essential needs, including a collaboration with Lyft to provide transportation costs to clients and an in-progress effort with Target and Ross companies to ensure local day cares and schools have products such as diapers, backpacks, and school supplies. Another partnership with the grocery stores Giant and Safeway has made it possible for Tahirih Greater DC-Baltimore to distribute grocery gift cards to clients.
- Tahirih San Francisco Bay Area partnered with My New Red Shoes on a cash-transfer pilot program that gives $1,000 each month (with no strings attached) to ten of their clients who have dependent children. Part of this process involved getting clients set up with bank and email accounts, some of them for the first time.
- Tahirih Atlanta partnered with TCC Gives, a Verizon authorized retailer, who provided 40 cell phones with data plans to our clients. This will allow survivors to stay connected with their support network. The availability of a safe phone is critical to survivors’ ability to connect to valuable resources and break free economically from reliance on family data plans shared with an abuser.
- Tahirih’s Afghan Asylum Project remains committed to providing necessary services and assistance to Afghan refugees, with 136 affirmative asylum cases accepted and 438 pro bono attorneys working on these cases.
On the advocacy side, we have been pleased to contribute to groundbreaking policy changes that will protect survivors from further harms. Here are some highlights from the first half of the year:
- After several years of work in Maryland, our efforts finally paid off when the state lifted the minimum age for marriage from 15 to 17, which will prevent more children from the devastating impacts of child marriage.
- In the long-overdue reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, there is now a definition of forced marriage as one form of harm, thanks to the efforts of Tahirih’s policy team. Having this definition in the legislation will enable survivors of forced marriage to access resources that may have previously been unavailable to them.
- Our policy team at Tahirih Houston successfully worked to have an Enhanced Library Card approved as a valid form of ID at various government agencies, which will make it easier for survivors to get essential benefits and resources.
As we look ahead to the remainder of 2022, we are proud of what we have accomplished together and inspired by the possibilities that exist when our compassionate community pursues a shared goal of a better world for all. We appreciate everything that you have done to support immigrant survivors and are motivated by and excited for the opportunities for change up ahead.