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Hope and Commitment: The D’Souza Family Honoured at NJ Freedom Gala

# 005 Of 005 Dsouza Family Honoured At Nj Freedom Gala May 20, 2024

Bridgewater(NJ): The New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking (NJCAHT) hosted its Annual Freedom Gala at the Bridgewater Manor on 14 May, and it was an honour to attend alongside my parents, Harold and Dancy D’Souza, and my friend, Shivain Chopra.


The event, which brought together nearly 200 individuals dedicated to fighting human trafficking, was a powerful reminder of the strength and resilience of our community.

A Night to Remember
The NJ Freedom Gala was more than just a fundraising event; it was a celebration of our collective efforts to combat human trafficking and support survivors.

Seeing so many passionate individuals gathered in one room was both humbling and inspiring. My parents and I were grateful to have the opportunity to share our story briefly, highlighting the positive and empowering impact NJCAHT has had on our lives.

Our message was simple but profound: Together, we can make a difference.

Inspiring Speeches and Emotional Moments
One of the most moving moments of the evening was John-Michael Lander’s acceptance speech for the NJ Freedom Award.

His eloquence and heartfelt gratitude towards NJCAHT, especially Gina Cavallo, touched everyone in the room. Lander’s words about Gina’s ability to “speak in tongues” – to communicate in a way that resonates deeply with each individual – truly encapsulated the essence of the evening.

It was a powerful reminder of the transformative power of support and understanding in the fight against human trafficking.

Celebrating Achievements
The gala also celebrated the release of Gina Cavallo’s book, “A Survivor’s Secrets.” Gina’s story of overcoming the horrors of human trafficking and finding true freedom is both heart-wrenching and inspiring.

While the book signing was not the main focus of the event, it drew considerable interest, with proceeds supporting NJCAHT’s vital work.

Gina’s courage and dedication are a beacon of hope for many, and her book promises to inspire and educate countless others.

Recognizing Heroes
The NJ Freedom Awards honoured individuals who have made significant contributions to the fight against trafficking. John-Michael Lander, Takeisha Stewart, and William E. Reynolds were recognized for their exceptional efforts.

Their dedication and hard work are making a tangible difference in the lives of survivors and in the broader fight against trafficking.

Looking Ahead
As we look to the future, Eyes Open International remains steadfast in our commitment to fighting human trafficking.

Our recent Triumph Over Trafficking event on May 2 was a great success, and we are eagerly preparing for a workshop at the Ohio Attorney General’s summit in August.

Collaborating with NJCAHT and other partners, we are developing educational materials to combat digital and online predation.

Personal Reflections
Attending the NJ Freedom Gala with my parents and Shivain was a deeply emotional and uplifting experience. It was a night filled with powerful stories, heartfelt speeches, and a strong sense of community.

Each speaker reminded us of the importance of standing together and supporting one another.

The mantra, “You can’t talk about us, without us,” echoed throughout the evening, reinforcing the need for survivor-led initiatives and community-driven solutions.

Gratitude and Hope
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be part of such an impactful event. The connections we made and the stories we heard will continue to inspire and drive our efforts.

There is still much work to be done, but events like the NJ Freedom Gala remind us that we are not alone in this fight.

Together, we are making progress, day by day, step by step.

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