As the Majestic Princess yacht glided tonight past Lady Liberty, symbol of freedom and opportunity, a forced-marriage survivor shared her traumatic story with some 120 people on board. She described feeling increasingly trapped and helpless as her parents planned to force her into marriage, so much so that she became suicidal.
It never occurred to her that she should and could escape – at least, not until her close friend discovered Unchained At Last, she said. Unchained helped the survivor escape her forced marriage and rebuild her life.
Her story was one of the highlights of Dinner on the River, a dinner cruise on the Hudson that Unchained hosted to help end forced and child marriage in America. The dinner cruise also featured a tasty buffet dinner, a premium open bar and striking views of the sun setting over New York and New Jersey landmarks while guests danced to a lively mix of ’80s dance music and Top 40 hits. Winners of the silent auction and raffle snapped up a red Kate Spade tote, a FitBit wristband and, for one lucky winner, two tickets to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
The event raised some $26,000 to help end forced and child marriage in the U.S.
Dinner on the River honored two of the more than 215 attorneys who generously donate their services to unchain women and girls from forced marriages:
- Cary Cheifetz, founding member and partner at Ceconi & Cheifetz
- Richard Gruenberger, director and counsel for U.S. Pro Bono Programs at DLA Piper
The event was made possible by Dr. Robin Lustig, who graciously underwrote the event in loving memory of her mother, Jessie Lustig.
Photo Credit: Chaya Reiss