The main event with Laura Harris and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Abi Ferrin, Shelly Slater, Christa Sanford
Ashlee Kleinert, Captain Jeoff Williams
Laura Harris interviews Jada Pinkett Smith
Bianca Jackson, Laura Harris
Carolyn Miller shops for a scarf in the Abi Ferrin Pop-Up Shop
Chris Saddock, Chris Kleinert
Sheena Payne, Donna Richardson, Libby Wright
Dee Brown, Jennifer Sampson
Dennis Moon, Janet Ryan, Wendy Messmann, Todd Westerburg
Dr. Gerald Turner, Jessica Waugh, Gail Turner, Bertha Rivera Roop, Chris Ruiz, Miguel Hernandez
Jane Hanratty, Joan Slater, Avery O'Neill
Joe & Amy Crafton
Mike Rials, Janet Jensen, Lauren Grogan, Jacqueline Alvaradejo, Mandy Goodall
Shelly Slater, Mackenzie & Tyler Kleinert, Annemarie Graham
The moment I heard style icon and force-of-nature Jada Pinkett Smith would be giving the keynote for an upcoming Dallas event I said “Where is it?” and “What time do I need to be there?” It was the annual New Friends New Life luncheon held at the Omni Hotel (one of the few ballrooms large enough for this size of a crowd).
It was a packed room since the charity is known for its work addressing the horrific crime of trafficked girls and sexually exploited women and children.
The organization provides access to education and then subsequent job training as well as financial assistance, mental health and spiritual support. All necessary for those needing to recover and rebuild their lives following a life on the streets or in captivity. Many who have come from those darks pasts have then faced addiction and poverty.
Pinkett Smith certainly picked a vital cause to champion.
Allow me to gush a moment on Miss Jada Pinkett Smith. I fell in love with her while in college when she was playing college student Lena James on the NBC television sitcom, A Different World. The series was an offshoot from the Cosby Show for cast member Lisa Bonet who played Denise Huxtable when she went off to study at Hillman College, a fictional historically black college.
That was the launch of Jada’s career which now includes dozens of films and television work. She met the incredibly handsome Will Smith when she auditioned for a role on his incredibly popular The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The couple now have two children, a son Jaden and a daughter Willow, who are now both social media influencers, entertainers and style icons in their own right.
New Friends New Life is an important cause for Jada as she shared from the stage that growing up, “Baltimore [where she was born and raised] had a lot of wolves on the street.” Predators were everywhere and were always on the prowl for young women and children. She produced a documentary, Rape for Profit, addressing the staggering statistics that between 700,000 and 4 million women and children will be trafficked this year, with the majority being forced to work in the sex trade.
In America, there are an estimated 40,000 men, women and children enslaved at this very moment.
Dallas guests supporting the cause included Greg Frary, Lael Brodsky, Abi Ferrin, Jess Prescott, Shelly Slater, Whitney Rowell and Laura Thompson.