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HOUSTON, TX — On Saturday, September 17, hundreds of people gathered at the Omni Hotel, united in a common purpose: to end gender-based violence. Tahirih’s 5th Annual Houston Gala, “A Mother’s Life, a Child’s Future,” raised lifesaving funds that enable Tahirih to continue to provide free legal and social services to hundreds of immigrant women and girls in the Houston area who are trying to rebuild their lives in the wake of extreme violence.

“By the time I finish this sentence, an underage girl will be forced to marry against her will,” Tahirih Justice Center founder and CEO Layli Miller-Muro told the audience. “By the time I finish my remarks, six girls will endure female genital mutilation… by this time next year, between 600,000 and 800,000 people – mostly women and girls – will be forced or coerced into modern-day slavery.”

But Tahirih is on the front lines of battling this epidemic, along with the army of supporters who make our work possible.

Among them, there is the actress and humanitarian, Eva LaRue, star of “CSI: Miami,” who jumped at the opportunity to emcee the evening to help ensure that every girl, every child, is safe to simply be a kid.

There is renowned philanthropist, Laura Arnold, who helped create Tahirih’s Children’s Border Project along with her husband John, to address the refugee crisis at the U.S. southern border.

There are the Morgan Lewis attorneys who dedicated their exceptional skills to Tahirih clients pro bono, taking on the most difficult cases with compassion, determination, and expertise.

There is honoree Dr. Jodi Berger Cardoso, an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work, who has provided critical expert witness testimony on behalf of Tahirih’s clients in some of the toughest legal cases. She was presented the Pro Bono Award for Excellence in Mental Health.

There is Rosalie Hyde, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist who was presented with the same award, who donated her time, energy, and expertise to help both Tahirih clients and staff.

There is Payam Zamani, an internet pioneer, entrepreneur, Tahirih Board Member and child refugee, whose success wouldn’t have been possible without the free legal services he was provided at just 16-years-old.

And then there are all the generous, dedicated Tahirih supporters, many of whom gathered in the Omni Hotel ballroom in Houston on September 17. Those who were present at the Gala managed to raise over $550,000 to help courageous women and children, the heroic clients who are transforming the world.

“It’s natural to wonder, when confronted with the depressing nature of our current reality, how can I possibly make an impact?” said Layli. “In truth, you make a tremendous impact.”

Cover Photo by Sweet Nest Photography.