American Airlines and award-winning author and social justice scholar Dr. Monique W. Morris are the recipients of the 2021 ProtectHER awards.
The recipients were honored at the annual New Friends New Life luncheon, featuring a virtual conversation with Lupita Nyong’o.
American Airlines was recognized for its commitment, in partnership with Jones Day, to helping remove the barriers of a criminal record obtained as a direct result of trafficking and exploitation. The airline began a partnership with New Friends New Life in 2020 in hopes of raising awareness of human trafficking and supporting the needs of victims and survivors in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Additionally, their legal team launched a new pro bono program to enable members of the team to volunteer to provide free legal services to people in need. In partnership with attorneys at Jones Day, American participated in an initiative led by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, providing legal help to Dallas-area residents ― including human trafficking survivors ― who were qualified to have offenses expunged.
Morris will be recognized for her work educating about the disparities facing girls of color – a demographic that is disproportionately trafficked and exploited.
Morris is president and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color. Her work has been profiled by MSNBC, CSPAN2, The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR, and PBS, among other national and local print, radio, and television media.
“This year’s ProtectHER Award recipients are doing life-changing, impactful work, critical to our mission to improve the lives of trafficked and exploited women and girls who need our voice,” said New Friends New Life CEO Bianca Davis. “In addition to their extensive training program identifying and stopping traffickers, American Airlines is giving our members a new start on life by providing pro-bono legal services to expunge their records. Dr. Monique W. Morris is providing a transformative voice for young girls of color impacted by sex trafficking. By working together, we can continue to safeguard the rights of women and girls who are at-risk or have already suffered the trauma of human trafficking.”
A group of about 70 attended a recent launch party for the luncheon.
Launch party guests, including Robin Bagwell, Brad Cheves, Kimberly Clifton, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Jane Rose, Pat Schenkel, Beth Thoele, and Gail Turner, enjoyed gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from Ruthie’s Rolling Café, ice cream from Baldo’s, and wine courtesy of Starpower.
Tours of New Friends New Life were also provided throughout the evening.