NEW YORK – On Thursday, October 27, Children’s Rights, a leading national organization focused on the rights of children, hosted its annual Benefit & Inspiration Awards event in New York City.
Under the banner Childhood Is Our First Right, hundreds of the city’s most committed advocates for children came together to celebrate Children’s Rights, which for over 25 years has been holding governments accountable for protecting children and keeping families together.
The event honored four individuals who have put their commitment to the rights of children into bold action:
- Greg Louganis, Olympic diver, sports icon, and advocate for social justice issues including LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, and child welfare.
- Bobbi Taylor, an advocate for children, whose work is informed by her lived experience in foster care.
- Alycia Michelle Guichard, Global Corporate Counsel for Verizon Business Group, who leads the company’s extensive social responsibility and pro bono programs.
- Megan Shattuck, Founder of the talent business at Teneo, who as a Children’s Rights board member and former board chair, has been instrumental in helping Children’s Rights grow and effect systemic change for children in more than 20 states.
“Working with Children’s Rights has opened my eyes to the harms done to LGBTQ+ kids in government systems. LGBTQ+ children are overrepresented in foster care, often because they have been rejected by their families, and they suffer from consistent abuse and harassment. Children’s Rights is leading a movement to ensure that child welfare systems have explicit protections for LGBTQ+ foster youth and foster parents and I am proud to be a part of that movement,” said Louganis. “I am proud to be honored by an organization whose work touches on issues I care deeply about: LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, and foster care. And I know our nation and its children are lucky to have Children’s Rights working hard every day for them.”
To show, not tell, the impact of Children’s Rights, Executive Director Sandy Santana shared a powerful clip from an NBC Today Show report on the dramatic reforms made to Connecticut’s foster care system as a result of a lawsuit filed by Children’s Rights. The state has achieved success for children across a range of measures, including keeping families together by prioritizing community supports and addressing racial inequities. Since 2019 Connecticut has reduced its foster care population by a third and reunified 2,400 families
Past honorees and presenters at the annual Children’s Rights event have included Cyndi Lauper, Padma Lakshmi, Nick Cannon, Harvey Fierstein, Natalie Morales, and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.