Last Wednesday I received a phone call from a friend, asking if I wanted to make a quick trip to Dallas, TX (3 hours away) for the annual New Friends New Life “Wings” Luncheon. NFNL is an organization dedicated to helping victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in northeast Texas. I was thrilled to be invited to be a part of a fundraiser that would help so many women and children so close to home, especially since the keynote speaker would be international human rights barrister, Amal Clooney!
The 13th Annual “Wings” Luncheon, held last Thursday, was Clooney’s first trip to Dallas and her first speaking engagement in the U.S. Because she is most often in the press in the U.S. for her wardrobe & lifestyle, it is easy to forget that she is a top international human rights attorney. Having admired Clooney’s work for years, I jumped at the chance to hear her speak. She is every bit as passionate, charming, & graceful as I expected. The format was conversational & moderated by WFAA-TV anchor Shelly Slater. I liked the informal feel that resulted from the conversation. It allowed Clooney’s humor & passion to really shine. She began with, “as a barrister, sometimes here in America I am asked, ‘What’s it like working in the coffee industry?'”
It is Clooney’s passion that continues to motivate her & is what I found most inspiring. “The reason I’m doing the cases I do is because I’m emotional about them,” she said. “I don’t think a woman should apologize for that any more than a man should.” I was so moved by the way her eyes lit up as she described her clients & cases. Despite the danger that is often associated with her work, Clooney said that witnessing the violence, & lack of accountability, in many countries is what drives her. She noted some of the recent strides in human rights, such as the classification of rape as a war crime, but urged that we still have progress to make, citing Boko Haram & ISIS. She is currently representing journalists overseas who have been jailed for speaking out against human rights violations & corruption in countries that seek to censor journalists & lawyers. “We need them to be able to tell us what’s happening in the world,” she said.
While the conversation drifted occasionally to Clooney’s private life, she emphasized that her focus is on using her fame to shine the spotlight on issues that do not receive much international attention. As for future plans, Clooney intends to keep making an impact wherever she can. She did give a little insight into her fast-paced lifestyle, saying that the flexibility of her job (being self-employed & able to work from almost anywhere) allows her to travel frequently. She said that she, and her husband George Clooney, take pleasure in small things like walking their dogs or visiting with family.
The luncheon raised more than $1 million for counseling, housing, education, and other services offered to victims. I was shocked to hear that approximately 400 trafficked or exploited teenagers work the streets of Dallas nightly & that Texas ranks second in the nation for calls to the Nation Human Trafficking Resources Center. I encourage you to visit New Friends New Life on Facebook for more information on the important work they are doing.
Although the luncheon focused on the serious mission of helping exploited women & children, I have to talk about the fashion, too! Clooney’s style is timeless, classic, & effortless. For the lunch, she was perfectly polished in a pink silk blouse and white straight-leg pants from Altuzarra.
I wore a layered coral maxi dress & accessories from White House Black Market.
Dress: White House Black Market // Wedges: White House Black Market (on sale!) // Necklace: White House Black Market (on sale!) // Earrings: White House Black Market (on sale!) // Watch: Kate Spade // Bag: Gigi New York