On Thursday, May 14, Womanspace honored human rights activist, Minh Dang, at their 21st Annual Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award Ceremony. The 21st Purple Rose Award was presented to Dang for her courageous efforts to stop human trafficking.
As a former victim of sex slavery herself, Dang strives to raise awareness about this topic and give voice to those who are still suffering in silence. Dang was presented to the public by her good friend and author Abby Sher, who shared some details about what makes Dang such an extraordinary person and how her journey has made her the woman she is today.
Daring to be different, Dang began her speech by singing “We Shall Overcome”, a popular song by Pete Seeger, hoping to one day overcome her own fears, as well as ending the vicious cycle of sex slavery. Refusing to stand on the podium, Dang preferred being among the people. She did not want to be singled out as a “hero” rather a human being like everyone else. Dang’s speech left everyone in the room feeling heavy hearted for the journey she was forced into.
Stephen Sigmund, the son of the founder of Womanspace Mrs. Barbara Boggs Sigmund, described Dang’s speech as “you could have heard a pin drop.” The stillness in the room that night reflected the shock everyone was in for lack of awareness that human trafficking is happening right here in the United States.
Along with raising awareness, this spectacular event also raised money for Womanspace to continue to provide care to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and support services to survivors of human trafficking. A net total of $140,000 was raised and over 320 guests attended.