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Children’s Rights Hosts 2019 Benefit & Inspiration Awards

Rosario Dawson spoke at NYC fundraiser for kids; Broadway impresario Jordan Roth emceed

NEW YORK – Children’s Rights, the preeminent voice for children harmed by the nation’s immigration, healthcare and child welfare systems, hosted its 14th annual Benefit & Inspiration Awards Gala at the Mandarin Oriental on Monday, October 28 in New York.

The event featured remarks by actor and activist Rosario Dawson. Jordan Roth, president of Jujamcyn Theaters, reprised his role as emcee. The benefit honored three people for their work to improve the lives of children:

Dawson, an outspoken supporter of women’s and children’s rights, adopted her daughter at the age of 11 from foster care.

“Children’s Rights makes sure vulnerable kids are protected by adults who look into their faces and say. We care. You matter. We’re not giving up on you. Tonight I ask you to join with me in supporting Children’s Rights and using every breath of our lifetime to show up and serve,” said Dawson.

Children’s Rights investigates, exposes and combats violations of the rights of children by government agencies responsible for their care. The benefit’s theme, You Belong, honored all children in need of a safe and loving home as well as to the donors and partners that make the organization’s work possible. Over the last 20 years Children’s Rights has improved the lives of 1.5 million children.

“Today the need has never been more urgent: Government policies are putting children at risk in our nation’s immigration, healthcare and child welfare systems, while the opioid epidemic is driving more children into an already overburdened foster care system,” said Sandy Santana, Executive Director of Children’s Rights. “In response we have strengthened our work to protect the rights of children, and we are excited to honor remarkable people who have made significant contributions to improving their lives.”

Vincent Mai’s philanthropic activities have focused on a wide range of human rights issues, including the importance of early childhood development. William McNabb spearheaded the creation of a program that is helping children living in poverty prepare for and succeed in school. Lexie Pèrez-Grüber, who lived in foster care as a child, was instrumental in the passage of the Family First Act, the most comprehensive federal child welfare reform law in decades.

Karli, a six-and-a-half year old Muppet of Sesame Street in foster care and the face of Sesame Workshop’s new foster care initiative, also attended the event as a guest of Mr. Mai, a longtime chairman of the board at the Sesame Workshop.

“Too many children, through no fault of their own, do not have a stable home with adults who care, adequate healthcare, or access to education,” said Vincent Mai. “Children’s Rights exists to change that. In a world where it feels like all we’re doing is putting Band-Aids on problems, Children’s Rights is bringing about tangible, structural change on an enormous scale and in the process transforming the lives of children.”

During the evening, artist and former foster youth Ronald Draper presented his limited-edition, 14-karat gold HOPE necklace. A pop-up shop featured clothing and other items carrying the Children’s Rights logo.

Notable supporters of Children’s Rights’ previous benefits include Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys, Padma Lakshmi, Leslie Odom Jr., Malcolm Gladwell, Rosie Perez, Natalie Morales, “Ne-Yo” Shaffer Smith, Marcus Samuelsson, and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.

For additional information, photos, or to cover the event, please contact Mariam Ahmed at mariam.ahmed@berlinrosen.com.


About Children’s Rights: Every day, children are harmed by America’s broken child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and healthcare systems. Through relentless strategic advocacy and legal action, we hold governments accountable for keeping kids safe and healthy. Children’s Rights has made a lasting impact, protecting hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children and we are poised to help millions more. They are depending on us…and you. For more information, please visit www.childrensrights.org.