New Friends New Life Annual Luncheon Co-Chairs Jane A. Rose and Jessica Turner Waugh have just revealed updates for the annual NFNL fundraiser scheduled for Friday, September 18.
This year’s ProtectHer Awardees will be Natalie Nanasi, who is an assistant profession of law and the director of SMU’s Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Women, and Brittany K. Barnett, who is an attorney, author and entrepreneur dedicated to reforming the criminal justice system.
According to NFNL CEO Kim Robinson, “As a community partner with the legal center, New Friends New Life has referred many survivors to Natalie and her team, who have provided the assistance they so desperately needed. In 2019, 75% of our members had a criminal record of some kind — a formidable barrier for them to finding conventional employment, housing and building a new life. We thrilled to honor Natalie, who is making a critical difference in their ability to make a fresh start.”
Natalie commented, “The criminal records that New Friends New Life’s clients carry are a direct result of the trafficking they have endured. From theft to drug and prostitution convictions, none of their interactions with the criminal justice system have occurred outside of the context of their victimization. It is an honor to help survivors navigate the legal system and work with them to clear their records, and I am humbled to be recognized for standing beside these brace women.”
With her memoir “A Knock at Midnight” being published on Tuesday, September 8, Brittany “knows firsthand the impact of mass incarceration” since her mother was formerly incarcerated. Having founded two nonprofits — Buried Alive Project and Girls Embracing Mothers — and two social enterprises — XVI Capital Partners and Milena Reign — Brittany graduated from SMU’s Dedman School of Law in addition to earning her master’s degree in accounting.
Kim said, “It is inspiring to see Brittany challenging systems at every turn. Her resilience and determination have helped her overcome obstacles that could have easily made her a product of her environment. Instead, she is breaking through barriers on behalf of others, changing lives in the process. We are delighted to be able to celebrate her achievements.”
The original plans for the luncheon with keynote speaker Cyntoia Brown-Long to take place at the Omni Dallas Hotel have been changed to a virtual get-together “to ensure the safety of supporters during COVID-19.”
* Photo provided by New Friends New Life