Main Dish

Innocents at Risk Sheds Light on Darkness

April 27, 2017

Mark Axmacher II, Cora Lee, Jennifer Axmacher, Ashraf Ghorbal (Photo by: The Georgetown Dsh) Mark Axmacher II, Cora Lee, Jennifer Axmacher, Ashraf Ghorbal
The annual Innocents at Risk Gala lit up the Organization of American States Wednesday, shining a bright light on a dark problem: human trafficking. Event Chairs Mark and Jennifer Axmacher II welcomed 200 guests to the sparkling black-tie event as guests sipped mojitos and glorious samba music played.

The Honorable Debbie Dingell, congresswoman from Michigan, with Richard Marks of the Innocents at Risk Advisory Board (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) The Honorable Debbie Dingell, congresswoman from Michigan, with Richard Marks of the Innocents at Risk Advisory Board
Organization founder Deborah “Debbie” Sigmund first heard the phrase “human trafficking” while on holiday in Europe. Appalled by reports of traffickers who lured women and children away from their families with promises of a better future before beating, mentally abusing, and sexually exploiting them, Sigmund, a mother of five, decided she had to do something, forming Innocents at Risk in 2005. Later, she launched the Flight Attendants Initiative, training and coordinating thousands of airline personnel to identify victims and bring perpetrators to justice.

Innocents at Risk Founder Deborah Sigmund with Event Chairs Jennifer and Mark Axmacher II (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Innocents at Risk Founder Deborah Sigmund with Event Chairs Jennifer and Mark Axmacher II
“Debbie has done what no mere mortal could do,” said Nora Maccoby, a filmmaker who is developing a movie about Sigmund’s work. “If you had a few more people activating like Debbie, it would be a different world.” Sharon Stone or Charlize Theron have been identified as potential stars to play Sigmund in the film.  

Sigmund has tirelessly focused attention on the issue, working with law enforcement and speaking to audiences worldwide about this global scourge. Her message has resonated. “As relatively new parents, we’ve learned that it’s absolutely critical that we take care of our children around the world, wherever they are,” said Event Chair Mark Axmacher, managing partner of Capella Wealth Management.

Erin Haney, Antonio Alves, Mrs. Sandy Brock, former Sen. Bill Brock (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Erin Haney, Antonio Alves, Mrs. Sandy Brock, former Sen. Bill Brock
John Arundel of Washington Life with the Guttierez sisters, left to right: Karina, Edi and Erica (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) John Arundel of Washington Life with the Guttierez sisters, left to right: Karina, Edi and Erica
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and former Sen. Bill Brock (who served as U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Labor) and Mrs. Sandy Brock also expressed their support among the high-profile guests.

Ambassador of the Dominican Republic José Tomás Pérez and Mrs. Caridad de Pérez served as the Honorary Chairs of the event, leading a Diplomatic Committee that included 17 of the most high-profile embassies in Washington. Operation Underground Railroad was the Special Guest of Honor. NBC’s Barbara Harrison was the Mistress of Ceremonies.

Operation Underground Railroad includes former CIA, Navy SEALs, and Special Ops operatives to lead coordinated identification and extraction efforts, working with law enforcement throughout the world. Once victims are rescued, the priority is a comprehensive process involving justice for perpetrators and recovery and rehabilitation for the survivors. 

 

Dordon Dale, Connie Carter, and filmmaker Nora Maccoby (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Dordon Dale, Connie Carter, and filmmaker Nora Maccoby
Writer Mary Bird and photographer Neshan Naltchayan (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Writer Mary Bird and photographer Neshan Naltchayan


Click here to share your thoughts.


Hanka G. - Jazz Singer at the Embassy of Slovakia Friday

March 12, 2017

Hanka G., one of the most admired and well respected jazz singers in eastern Europe, will bring her talents to the Slovakian Embassy Friday, March 17, presented by the Embassy Series. Hanka has been performing on the domestic as well as international jazz scene for well over a decade, with her signature tyle of jazz and soul. “She weaves her lush alto voice through any set of changes with grace and mastery. Her artistry demands to be heard,” wrote one critic.

Joining Hanka will be Anthony Wonsey, an American jazz piano player and graduate of prestigious Berklee College of Music, who played with Roy Hargrove and Antonio Hart, among others. Double bassist Kristopher Funn was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He began playing the trumpet at age four and took up the double bass at age 14 upon entering high school. At age 18, Kristopher attended Howard University to study Computer Science while also performing in the Howard University Jazz Ensemble for two years.

Rounding out the quartet, John Russell Lamkin, III (drums) is a native of Baltimore Maryland. He began playing drums at four. John attended The Manhattan School of Music in New York City and later, Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. John has been recognized by, toured, played and recorded with a number of exceptionally talented recording artists including Donald Harrison, Najee, Michael Henderson, Kenny Garrett, Christian Scott, Chick Corea, the late great Lionel Hampton, the late great Abbey Lincoln, and many others. John maintains a deep respect and appreciation of those who’ve set standards in the music world.

The concert, presented by the Embassy Series, includes a buffet reception and wine, and parking on the embassy compound. Tickets are $95.

Click here for details and tickets ... or call 202.625.2361.


Click here to share your thoughts.


Women's March Wraps Washington in Pink

January 23, 2017

Sign: (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Sign: "Babes Against Buillsh*t"
It was breathtaking. It was heartening. It was....pink. 

The Women's March blanketed Washington Saturday as hundreds of thousands of women from across the country gathered in what some are calling a counter-inauguration, the largest post-inaugural demonstration in U.S. history. 

Early crowds stream down 7th Street. Pennsylvania Ave. was filled near the Mall. (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Early crowds stream down 7th Street. Pennsylvania Ave. was filled near the Mall.
It started in the morning with rush-hour traffic congestion and rivers of young people walking from every corner of the city -- and region -- toward the National Mall. Crowd scholars said there may have been three times as many people here for the March as attended the official inauguration the previous day. Metro ridership was roughly double Saturday what it was Friday, according to WMATA.

The Georgetown Dish must say, we have never seen so many people on the Mall. Ever.

LIana Mistretta, RAI News 24, with The Georgetown Dish (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) LIana Mistretta, RAI News 24, with The Georgetown Dish
We caught up with Italian news broadcaster Liana Mistretta of RAI News24. She's a veteran of conflict, reporting from around the world -- Europe, the Middle East, Africa -- the hot spots. 

Her perspective: "We know a little bit about what you're going through. [Ex-Prime Minister] Silvio Berlusconi was a similar type of personality."

Liana Mistrett on RAI, reporting on protests of Donald Trump on Inauguration Day 2017 (Photo by: RAI) Liana Mistrett on RAI, reporting on protests of Donald Trump on Inauguration Day 2017
Roger Cohen of The New York Times wrote, "Widely ridiculed, endlessly written about, long unscathed by his evident misogyny and diverse legal travails, Berlusconi proved a Teflon politician [...] Nobody who knows Berlusconi and has watched the rise and rise of Donald Trump can fail to be struck by the parallels." Berlusconi served in four governments. 

In The Daily Beast, Barbie Latza Nadeau wrote, "If Americans are wondering just what a Trump presidency would look like, they only need to look at the traumatized remains of Italy after Berlusconi had his way."

Italy is an economic basket case in the European Union. 

A mother and daughter from Bowie arrived early on the Mall, with Beth Solomon, The Georgetown Dish (Photo by: Daughter from Bowie) A mother and daughter from Bowie arrived early on the Mall, with Beth Solomon, The Georgetown Dish
But the feeling on the National Mall was of hope, unity, and the power of women's voices to make a difference.

We're not in Kansas anymore. Keep your pink hat handy...

 


Click here to share your thoughts.