Galas begin to blend together this time of year. There are only so many venues, caterers, and bands to enlist for the back-to-back slate of charity events on Houston's thriving social calendar, after all.
So, rather than offer a traditional program for this year's fundraiser, nonprofit Elijah Rising opted for something different and turned to the theater.
The organization, whose four-pronged approach to ending sex trafficking includes "prayer, awareness, intervention, and restoration," partnered with A.D. Players, Houston's Christian-based theater company, to produce "Survivor Monologues" for nearly 430 guests on October 8.
Local actors performed monologues inspired by real-life survivors of sex trafficking, bringing to life moving stories about the bleak realities of the crisis and overcoming tremendous adversity. A portion of the stories came from Tennessee-based Pipeline Collective's "End Slavery Monologues," and others were written by Houston author, playwright, and sex trafficking survivor Kathy McGibbon. A pack of tissues accompanied each program placed on the George Theater seats.
Before the show, the audience also heard from Elijah Rising Development Director Adam Chaney, Executive Director Micah Gamboa, and A.D. Players Executive Director Jake Speck, who noted that an Elijah Rising van tour sparked the partnership between the two entities.
Earlier in the evening, Churrascos catered a cocktail reception and three-course dinner with a menu of foods inspired by origin countries of many trafficking survivors: Vietnamese noodle salad, Korean cucumber salad, Thai eggplant salad, beef short ribs, tres leches cups, alfaiores, and fruit empanadas.
Gwen Baird, Annette Durrett, and Kerry Stovall co-chaired the unique event, which ultimately raised more than $225,000 for Elijah Rising.