Summary of Amara Honors Event

 In Amara In The News

If you were not able to attend the September 8th Amara Honors Event, there is an opportunity to view the recording, donate, and purchase a signed copy of Barbara Amaya’s Book, Nobody’s Girl!

We were fortunate to have Andrea Bertone as our Master of Ceremonies. Ms. Bertone teaches a graduate level course on human trafficking at George Washington University and is also the Director of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Hub at the nonprofit FHI 360. 

Here were some highlights:

Amara saw an increased caseload during COVID as the pandemic exposed and exacerbated inequality for vulnerable populations, including Black women between the ages of 18-29 experiencing the following:

  • homelessness
  • substance abuse
  • severe trauma

Amara’s 2021-2022 “Circle of Hope” campaign represents Amara’s diverse community, our holistic and culturally-sensitive approach to helping survivors and sex workers fight for justice, and our training and advocacy efforts to increase awareness and push for equity. Our goal is $50,000, but to date, we have only raised $15,000.  We greatly need and would appreciate additional funding to continue our important work.  Please donate any amount to:

Sakala Rutherford, Amara Board of Directors President, introduced our new Executive Director, Caroline Ackerman.  Welcome Caroline.

One of our founders, Stacie Reimer, returned to provide a few remarks on what Amara has accomplished this year.

We showed highlights from Amara’s successful and inspiring speaker series which included:

Interviews with survivor-leaders Julia Hubbard, Tanya Gould, Shamere McKenzie, and a robust panel discussion on the Safe Sex Workers Study Act, with Mariah Grant, RJ Thompson, Tamika Spellman, and Kate D’Adamo.

We presented 5 awards to those who gave of their time, talents and treasure to further our work:

  1. Partner Award: Martina Vandenberg, President of the Human Trafficking Legal Center 
  1. Advocacy Award: Virginia State Delegate, Karrie Delaney who, with former VA Governor Ralph Northam, signed a Vacatur bill which allows survivors’ convictions for offenses which they were forced to commit, to be expunged so that they can get a job and provide for themselves.
  1. Law Firm Award:  McGuireWoods
  1. Corporate Award:  Erison Ferguson, business owner of Fres Construction.
  1. Volunteer Award: Megan Respol

We showcased the fact that one of Amara’s board members and survivor leader, Sarah Zalonis, was the recipient of an Anthem Award in 2022 as the Leader of the Year in the Humanitarian Action & Services/Community Engagement.

The highlight of the evening was a riveting keynote talk by survivor leader Barbara Amaya.  There are still opportunities to purchase a signed copy of Barbara’s book, Nobody’s Girl, on our website.

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