Co-chairs Ashley Anderson Smith and Nusia Sookarow, with honorary chair Susan Posnick, welcomed more than 350 attendees to the 8th Annual Mosaic Family Services Champion of Human Rights Gala held Oct. 6 at venue sixty five hundred.
The event raised nearly $150,000 in support of survivors of human rights abuses, including domestic violence and human trafficking, who are served by Mosaic.
Upon arrival at the “night in Monte Carlo” themed event, partygoers mingled while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. As patrons enjoyed their meal, Walter Nguyen, executive director of Mosaic Family Services, took the stage to recognize Church of the Incarnation for their service project helping to renovate Mosaic House.
Erica Foland, from Neiman Marcus, followed to present the 2017 Champion of Human Rights Award, which is presented each year to individuals and/or groups striving to ensure the protection of the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled.
This year’s recipient was Brittany Merrill Underwood, founder of the Akola Project, for her inspirational work empowering women in disadvantaged communities throughout the globe. Akola trains and employs women in poverty, including survivors of trafficking in Dallas, so they can support themselves and meet the needs of their families.
Past Champion of Human Rights award recipients include Dallas council member Jennifer Staubach Gates; director and filmmaker Libby Spears; fashion designer Abi Ferrin; Judge Roberto Canas, Jr., presiding judge of Dallas County Criminal Court No. 10; Jan Langbein, executive director of Genesis Women’s Shelter, and Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place; Ambassador-At-Large Luis CdeBaca; and local philanthropist and women’s and human rights activist, Lauren Embrey.