Virtual benefit honors musician Cyndi Lauper with appearances by Rosario Dawson, Ashton Kutcher, Alicia Keys and more
(New York, NY) – Children’s Rights, the preeminent legal and advocacy voice for children in the child welfare system, hosted its 15th annual Benefit Gala & Inspiration Awards virtually on Wednesday, November 18.
The benefit, hosted by Broadway producer Jordan Roth, featured a performance by Grammy, Emmy, and Tony winner Cyndi Lauper singing a moving rendition of her signature hit song, True Colors. Lauper accepted the 2020 Children’s Rights Inspiration Award from acclaimed actor, playwright and singer, Harvey Fierstein.
Lauper was honored for her work with True Colors United, an organization she co-founded to prevent and end the homelessness of LGBTQ youth, who are far more likely to be rejected by their families and become homeless. Many come out of the foster care system. They live in poverty and fear and at heightened risk of being trafficked for sex. Lauper’s commitment has been instrumental in providing resources and options for vulnerable kids in communities across the US. This year, Children’s Rights developed a report, Fostering Inequity: How COVID-19 Amplifies Dangers for LGBTQ+ Youth in Care, exposing how the discrimination, institutionalization, and abuse that LGBTQ+ youth already face is exacerbated by COVID-19.
In accepting the award, Lauper said, “Since 1995 Children Rights has been winning landmark victories and bringing sweeping improvements in the lives of children in states across the country. How could you not be impressed with that? I want to thank Children’s Rights for this extraordinary honor, and for all that you do to protect children and bring them hope.”
The #1Nation4Children Benefit for Children’s Rights also featured endorsements by Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Christy Turlington Burns, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, and Rosario Dawson, who also narrated an animated video about Children’s Rights that premiered at the gala.
In her remarks, Kunis said, “I think the work of Children’s Rights is so important. In a world in which it often feels like all we’re doing is putting Band-Aids on problems, Children’s Rights is bringing about tangible, structural change.”
Children’s Rights investigates, exposes and combats violations of the rights of children by government agencies responsible for their care. The benefit’s theme, #1Nation4Children, is dedicated to all children in need of a safe and loving home as well as to the donors and partners that make Children’s Rights’ work possible. Over the last 25 years, Children’s Rights has improved the lives of 1.5 million children and counting.
During the evening youth who have spent time in the foster care system spoke moving about taking their own experiences and insights, and using them to advocate for changes that will improve the lives of all children.
Dimitri Carpenter, who was placed in foster care at the age of three, is now a police officer in Conroy Texas and the father of two young daughters. He appeared at the benefit with his mother, Sandra Carpenter, who brought him into her home when he was 16. “My mom is both my hero and my role model. Now that I am the father of two beautiful baby girls I want to be the shining example that my mother was to me,” Carpenter said. “I’m a cop. I love what I do. I believe that my unique life experiences will assist me in helping relate to, communicate with, and protect my community.”
“While #1Nation4Children is a celebration of a 20-year legacy improving the lives of our nation’s children, going virtual is a stark reminder that the need for this work has never been more urgent. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and laid bare the inequalities of our already overburdened system and upended the lives of children in foster care,” 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.”
The Benefit also welcomed voices from the movement for children’s rights including Sixto Cancel, CEO at Think of Us, Lexie Perez-Gruber, Policy Associate at Accenture, and Sandy Santana, Executive Director of Children’s Rights for a live panel focused on solutions for improving the future of child welfare.
Other notable speakers throughout the evening included #1Nation4Children Campaign Co-chairs Angela Vigil, Partner and Executive Director of the Pro Bono Practice of Baker & Mckenzie; Anne E. Robinson, Managing Director, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Vanguard, and Children’s Rights Board Chair, and Megan Shattuck, President, Talent Advisory of Teneo.
For additional information about the event and/or photos, please contact Emily Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Children’s Rights: Every day, children are harmed in 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, a national non-profit organization, has made a lasting impact for 1.5 million children and counting. For more information, please visit www.childrensrights.org.