Justice Network and co-founder Susan Panzica truly felt honored at the Liberator Awards Celebration put on through the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
The night started out with a great cocktail time to interact with others and eating some appetizers. Justice Network’s team kept grabbing the tiny quiches being served as well as enjoying the white chocolate fountain. All the foods were delicious and Fair Trade, which certainly made us all smile.
We were ushered into the seating area for the ceremony to begin. NJCAHT’s Executive Director Mandy Bristol-Leverett opened up the night. The interns made a fun video that was shown highlighting events from the year.
Justice Network’s own team member, Nicole Bucci, one of the winners of the Traffick Slam night’s poetry contest, shared her poem. It was beautiful and deep. It expressed her horror of slavery happening now and her dreams to tell her future grandchildren about the injustices that they (hopefully) will never know about or see existing. She read it with beauty and conviction.
The Hoving Home Choir sang “When You Believe,” a song from the animated movie Prince of Egypt which is about slavery of the Hebrew people and their exit led by Moses through his charge by God’s justice. Those in the Hoving Home have suffered from addiction problems, with some who were victims of human trafficking. We saw tears shed as they were singing the song. It was quite moving.
Ingrid Johnson, who is a part of the Atlantic Health Services, and mother of a trafficking survivor gave some introductions before Senator Cory Booker was shown on a video expressing his gratitude and appreciation for all those who won awards. He was glad that others in NJ are making great strides in the fight against human trafficking.
State Senator Tom Kean Jr. was introduced and gave a short speech before handing out the awards to each winner.
The Founder award was presented to Melanie Roth Gorelick and the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.
The Student award was presented to Danny Papa and Project Stay Gold.
The Innovator award was presented to Susan Panzica and Justice Network.
The Supporter Award was presented to the Community Foundation of New Jersey.
The Healer award was presented to Dawne Lomangino-DiMauro and Dreamcatchers.
The Leader award was presented to NJ Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle.
We were thrilled to see each winner while listening to their inspiring and kind speeches. It was a great moment for us to be able to share in their joy. Thank you to those who worked hard to put on this ceremony as well as to those who came out to help support us in these efforts.
See us accept the award!
Photos taken by Justice Network. Thanks to Gianluca D’Elia for two of the shots and to Tony Panzica for one of the videos.