The Texas Advocacy Project is gearing up for one of its biggest events of the year. On October 16, it will hold the Black & White Ball to recognize community leaders who embody the organization’s mission to help victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking through providing free legal services. Honorees at the 2015 ball will include domestic violence survivor Lidia Hernandez, who is receiving the Courage Award; KXAN reporter Shannon Wolfson, who is receiving the Generosity of Spirit Award; and Texas Athletics, which is receiving the Vision Award.

Many attendees and sponsors of the Black & White Ball are Texas attorneys and law firms. According Texas Advocacy Project Deputy Executive Director Denise Margo Moy, legal professionals play a vital role in supporting domestic violence survivors. “Legal services are one of the greatest unmet needs and are critical in ensuring survivors stay safe,” she said. “[They] need to know they have legal rights and learn about available options to select the best path for their family. Providing survivors with information on protective orders is imperative and just one of the many family law options our attorneys discuss with clients.”

Because 64 percent of the project’s clients report no income, and 86 percent live at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level, it is often difficult for them to afford legal representation. So attorneys who volunteer their time are essential to the project’s success. “Economic abuse is a very real means of control,” Moy said, “and we know there are many victims out there with no access to money, living in fear and violence. Access to attorneys is essential for getting victims and their families to safety and is also a means of empowerment to them.”

Some Texas law firms sponsor the event, which helps support the Texas Advocacy Project’s services and mission without grant restrictions, provides support for the unfunded portion of the organization, and enables it to reach out to communities. “Family violence does not discriminate,” Moy said, “so we continually need to raise awareness about our services for people from all walks of life.”

Select sponsorships are still available. For various deadlines and more information, contact Jennifer Blackman at For details on how you can help the Texas Advocacy Project by volunteering, go to