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Award-winning actor and producer Rainn Wilson took to the stage at Tahirih’s 6th Annual Houston Gala, underscoring the transformative support for Tahirih clients provided by the Houston community and the extraordinarily dedicated champions of justice that were to be honored that evening.

“The beauty of our community is that it consists of many different kinds of people, contributing in many different ways. And each voice, each effort, each helping hand adds up to something bigger than the sum of its parts.”

As an organization that turns every $1 donated into $4 of impact, Tahirih’s community advocates and the evening’s honorees represent a pillar of Tahirih’s nonprofit model. Although their day-to-day work with Tahirih may differ, what each of our honorees have in common is their commitment to creating a world where women and girls live in safety and with dignity.

This year’s Firm of the Year, Kirkland & Ellis, has provided exceptional legal defense, in both quality and quantity, for Tahirih clients. Consistently willing to take on new and challenging cases, they have helped clients overcome countless barriers in a complex legal system and given them an opportunity to access justice.

Translation and Interpretation Pro Bonos of the year, Marco Huertas, Adriana Morales, and Rose Lynn Robinson, have selflessly lent their voices to Tahirih clients despite having full time jobs outside of volunteer work. Their efforts have helped Tahirih clients accurately portray their stories so they can fight for themselves and their families and empower other survivors to do the same.

Elizabeth Hadley and Aaron Gregg from Greenberg Traurig of Austin were awarded the Legislative Advocacy Pro Bono of the Year Award for their crucial work to achieve trailblazing forced marriage legislation in Texas. Their battle to protect girls from the devastating harms of early marriage and raise awareness for their plight inspires us all.

As our Legislative Champions, Tahirih honored Senator Van Taylor and Representative Senfronia Thompson. As the sponsors of the groundbreaking forced marriage legislation in Texas, their resolution to protect thousands of girls from lifelong harm has resulted in a bipartisan effort that will serve as a model for the rest of the country.

Sheila Tweed was honored in memoriam for her dedication to protecting women and girls fleeing violence. A former Advisory Council member for Tahirih, she was a compassionate advocate for women’s rights and a wonderful person to know. The depth of her loss cannot be expressed, nor can the joy, impact, and light that her life brought to this world.

 “To all of our incredible honorees,” Rainn remarked, “we are grateful for everything you do to help courageous women and girls and make a better, safer, more equal society.”