Society / The Seen

With Surprises and Inspiring Words from Lupita Nyong’o, New Friends New Life Pulled Off an Empowering Hybrid Luncheon

Notable Guests Joined the Academy Award Winner for a Beautiful Cause

BY // 10.12.21
photography Tamytha Cameron

On Friday, October 8, the annual fall luncheon was held for New Friends New Life, a Dallas-based organization that empowers those who have been trafficked or sexually exploited and drives awareness about the staggering prevalence of the issue today. The event, co-chaired by Jan Osborn and Trina TerrellAndrews, took place at the Omni Hotel, though guests had the option to attend virtually for this year’s hybrid gathering.

The talented members of Dallas a capella group Kings Return opened the festivities, which included remarks from New Friends New Life CEO Bianca Davis. Then came the ProtectHER awards, which were given to Dr. Monique W. Morris, president and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color; Patrick Sanders, director and senior attorney at American Airlines, who accepted on behalf of the company; and surprise awardees Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki, whose foundation focuses on the health and education of children. “New Friends New Life is one of the key components making a change in our city,” Jessica said. “Your presence today is so important. To make a difference we all have to do this together.”

new friends new life luncheon
ProtectHER Award recipients Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki with NFNL CEO Bianca Davis (center).

NBC 5’s Laura Harris then introduced actress, producer, and author Lupita Nyong’o for a virtual chat that covered everything from her Academy Award-winning performance and Black Panther 2 to her children’s book Sulwe, a New York Times Bestseller and autobiography of sorts. She shared tales of her childhood and parents who were deeply involved in the world around them (her mother and father were a humanitarian and politician, respectively).

“I observed them put people first and sacrifice themselves for a larger idea – those examples affected me, giving me the blueprint of what life is about,” Nyong’o shared. “You have a life to lead – do what you want to do and what enriches the world you live in. This sense of purpose is in all of us – if you listen close enough.”

Conversation with Lupita Nyong’o
“A Virtual Conversation with Lupita Nyong’o,” moderated by NBC 5’s Laura Harris at the New Friends New Life fall luncheon.

In keeping with the mission of New Friends New Life, Nyong’o also shared an inspiring sentiment: where we come from isn’t necessarily where we belong, it’s just the starting point. “The more we understand that, the more we can do with it,” she explained. “We belong on this earth the second we get here.”

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