Kerry Washington Speaks in Dallas for “New Friends New Life” 25th Silver Jubilee Luncheon

Washington Talked About Her New Book, Thicker Than Water, Focusing on Family Dynamics, Entertainment, and Motherhood

By: Amber Barbee Pickens

Kerry Washington brought tinsel town to Dallas as the special guest for Dallas’ New Friends New Life 25th Silver Jubilee Luncheon held at the Hyatt Regency on September 29th. The sold-out event featured Ms. Washington in a conversation for a cause moderated by NBC 5’s Laura Harris. Co-chairs for the event were Tracey Nash-Huntley and David S. Huntley, and Elizabeth Carlock-Phillips and Kevin Philips. The organization is led by Chief Executive Officer Bianca Davis.

New Friends New Life (NFNL) was founded in Dallas in 1998. It grew from a groundbreaking church committee to a separate nonprofit organization providing an extensive offering of evidence-based programs to help survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation recover from complex trauma, rebuild their lives, and thrive. (NFNL) is all about the restoration and empowerment of teen girls, women, and their children to bring more awareness. With the opening of their drop-in Youth Resource Center in partnership with the office of the Governor, 546 girls have been served. New Friends New Life has also organized a Men’s Advocacy Group to encourage men to join in the fight against sex trafficking and exploitation.

Kerry Washington is an Emmy-winning, and SAG nominated actor, producer, director, and organizer. A native of The Bronx, New York, Washington is a versatile and fearless multi-hyphenate, and has received high acclaim for her work in film, television, theater, digital media, advocacy, and beyond. Washington received widespread public recognition for her role as Olivia Pope on the hit ABC drama Scandal, breaking barriers as the first Black woman since 1974 to headline a network TV drama. Washington’s film credits include Django Unchained, Ray, The Last King of Scotland, Save the Last Dance, Our Song, and The School for Good and Evil, among many others. In 2016, she launched her production company, Simpson Street.

A lifelong advocate and activist, Washington is dedicated to using her voice to fight for justice. Washington has been honored as one of Time magazine’s 2022 Women of the Year, in addition to appearing on the magazine’s Most Influential People list in 2014. She also received the 2013 NAACP President’s Award, the 2015 GLAAD Media Vanguard Award, and the 2016 ACLU Bill of Rights Award. In 2022, Washington partnered with LAUSD and others to launch The Roybal School of Film and Television Production, a magnet school aiming to drive transformational change across the entertainment industry for students from underserved communities.

For the conversation for a cause, Washington discussed her new book Thicker than Water, she shares the deeply moving journey of her life so far, and the bravely intimate story of discovering her truth. gives readers an intimate view into both her public and private worlds—as an artist, an advocate, an entrepreneur, a mother, a daughter, a wife, a Black woman. Chronicling her upbringing and life’s journey thus far, she reveals how she faced a series of challenges and setbacks, effectively hid childhood traumas, met extraordinary mentors, managed to grow her career, and crossed the threshold into stardom and political advocacy, ultimately discovering her truest self and,
with it, a deeper sense of belonging.


“Utterly immersive, beautifully descriptive, and radically honest, this book takes a compassionate sledgehammer to the facades that that so many of us create about ourselves and our families. It’s such a gift.” – Trevor Noah, author of Born a Crime

“An exquisitely moving story of grace and wisdom. Kerry Washington takes us along her hard-won transformation from a sheltered young girl growing up in the Bronx to the brilliant actor she is today. All the while, she shines a light on the true, full meaning of family. A revelation.”
-Isabel Wilkerson, author of Caste

Kerry shared that immediately after the last season of Scandal, her parents shared that her biological father was a sperm donor. Throughout her life, she always had an inkling that something was missing from her being. The past few years she has experienced a life-changing emotional rollercoaster of anger, confusion, longing, happiness, acceptance, and forgiveness. Kerry also shared the importance of accepting her truth and releasing shame. She reflected on the irony of being cast as the lead in Spike Lee’s She Hate Me. The film focuses on a man who agrees to share his sperm with lesbian couples. Kerry portrayed the man’s former fiancé. She invited her mother to the premiere of the film and remembered how uncomfortable she was throughout the screening. The entire time she thought her mom was uncomfortable about the lesbian interactions, when it was the plot that triggered her deepest family secret.

At first when Kerry found out her family’s secret, they agreed to keep hush about it. Then, after reflecting, Kerry realized she was being complicit in secrecy and shame. She decided it would free them all to be honest about their past. She was right and her family has become tighter than ever. Acceptance is bravery. Throughout her career she has portrayed many women who’ve faced adversity and they all chose to rise to the occasion. This time it was her turn, and she conquered her biggest hurdle.
She made the decision to stand by her new identity, accept her truest self and a deeper sense of belonging. She felt moved by New Friends New Life’s mission of starting over, finding community, and giving yourself grace. “We all deserve to be loved.” Kerry shared that she especially wants to inspire her children to be good humans and leave everything that doesn’t serve their journey behind.

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