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Joyful Heart Foundation's Second Annual Gala: THE JOYFUL REVOLUTION
This year's event was held at Terminal 5, one of New York City's most exciting new venues, and the perfect setting for the launch of the Joyful Revolution.
Hosted by Debra Messing and Chris Meloni, the gala featured various events spread out over two levels — with joyful design and décor generously provided by David Monn — beginning with a cocktail party, dinner, and the premiere of the Joyful Revolution film, followed by an exciting live auction, musical performances by Sheryl Crow, Lupe Fiasco, and Paula Fuga, and an after-party spun by DJ Cassidy.
The evening kicked off with Caribbean blue carpet (provided by Karastan) arrivals of those decked out in "joyful attire" including Joyful Heart Founder & President, Mariska Hargitay, with husband and JHF Board member, Peter Hermann, Hilary Swank, Stephanie March, Julianna Margulies, Mario Batali, and Marcia Gay Harden just to name a few.
We are immensely grateful to our sponsors who make it possible for the Joyful Heart Foundation to realize its mission. The generosity of companies including Art of Grace, the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and Wolf Films have allowed for the expansion of the programming and vision of our organization and to launch a Joyful Revolution. We would also like to thank our Joyful Leadership: Gala Co-Chairs, Alex Cohen, Linda Fairstein, Ashley McDermott and Hilary Swank; our Corporate Chair, the incredible Cristina Carlino; our Dinner Chairs, Nancy Ellison and Bill Rollnick; and the entire Benefit Committee. Your passion and commitment transformed this event from a possibility to a reality.
Second Annual Heart of Gold Award
After a welcome from co-hosts Debra and Chris, attendees sat down to a delicious meal prepared by Creative Edge Parties and the presentation of the 2009 Heart of Gold Award. This year's honoree, Dick Wolf, Emmy award-winning producer and creator of NBC's Law & Order branded series, was presented with the award by Linda Fairstein, Ice T, Chris Meloni, and Mariska, for his role in inspiring the founding of Joyful Heart and in celebration of SVU's 10th year.
Ten years ago, Dick Wolf did the impossible. He took the darkest crimes imaginable, brought them out of the shadows, placed them in the sharp light of prime-time television, and gave us Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Dick has used heartbreaking headlines, combined them with the brilliant imaginative talents of his writers and producers, and allowed a stunning crew of actors to become a voice for victims of violence everywhere.
From one writer to another, thank you for going there. That is where the heart of Joyful Heart's work with survivors beats: below the surface. Thank you for the recognition, understanding and honor you have brought to the people who confront these issues every day.
- Linda Fairstein
Dick, I am grateful to you for so much. I know I've told you this, but I want to share it with everyone. Ten years ago, I watched you receive the Silver Whistle Award at a SAVI dinner. That night the work got personal for me and I signed up-that night-to be a rape crisis advocate.
Without SVU, the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse would never have been pressed so deeply into my consciousness. I would never have read the fan mail that opened my eyes to the scope of these epidemics. And I would not have had the privilege of shedding light into the darkness that surrounds them.
For the revolution you have caused in the lives of survivors, for the revolution you have caused in mine, and for the bold voice you have created for these issues, I am so honored to give Joyful Heart's 2009 Heart of Gold Award to Dick Wolf.
- Mariska Hargitay
Join the Revolution
A notable highlight to the event was the debut of a film directed by Paul Korver, announcing the launch of our Joyful Revolution. A compilation of excerpts from interviews with survivors and Joyful Heart retreat participants, as well as healers and other JHF staff, the film exhibits the reality and magnitude of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse in America, the impact that Joyful Heart programs have already made in the lives of those in the community.
Shot on location in Hawaii, Los Angeles and New York, The Joyful Revolution focuses on Joyful Heart's vision of a community that turns toward the challenging issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse; opens a dialogue about these important issues; and collaboratively works to end the cycle of violence and abuse.
The film ended with a call to action from Mariska, the JHF Board and staff, asking everyone in the room and beyond to please join our Joyful Revolution.
I wanted to find different ways to get into the soul. I hope this movie was a way to get into yours. I'm not shy about that at all, that that's what we want to do tonight, to rattle around in your souls. We want to speak to that place in you that decides what is important and what isn't, what needs your attention and what doesn't. And to that place I want to say, again:
These issues need your attention.
They need your commitment.
They need your courage.
When I first encountered those shocking statistics ten years ago, I did not want to look. When I first started hearing survivors' stories, my reaction most definitely was not 'I want to hear more.'
But the truth about these epidemics-how pervasive they are, how and why they are so destructive, as well as how to heal from them, must become a priority in the cultural conversation.
I said in the film that we cannot do it alone, and you heard all of us-staff, board members, survivors-invite you to join the JOYFUL REVOLUTION. What does that mean? There are no barricades to storm, there is nothing to overthrow. We're not looking for a revolt. We're looking for a revolution. We're inviting you to turn towards these issues.
The turn is simple-and profound.
It is a turn away from this:
'This is someone else's problem.'
'There are bigger things to worry about.'
'This is all really awkward and I don't even know how to begin to talk about it.'
And towards this:
'I will make this my problem.'
'I will educate myself diligently about these issues, and act on my knowledge.'
'If I suspect child abuse, I will know how to go about reporting it and do so.'
'If I suspect domestic violence, I will have language to initiate a conversation.'
'If there are survivors in my circles, I will be a safe place for them to share their stories. I will say to them "I hear you. I believe you. And your story matters to me."'
'I will speak to my children about boundaries and what a healthy relationship looks like.'
'If I have resources to commit to these issues, I will commit them.'
'I will be a voice for the issues in the chorus of voices vying for attention, whether it is in official discussions of public policy, or at a ladies' lunch, where it really gets tricky.'
'I will set an example in my family, my business, my circle of friends of what it means to strive towards a community that says to a survivor "Your healing is our priority."'
A revolution always begins from within. This one begins when you decide how you will hold the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse within you, and how you live out that decision.
Your courage, your commitment, your openness, your vision move me more than you can know. For a;; of these, we thank you.
And thank you most of all for your revolution.
- Mariska Hargitay
After the conclusion of the film, Lydia Fenet, auctioneer extraordinaire from Christie's, led a live auction featuring one-of-a-kind experiences including packages that featured a Mario Batali dinner, box seats for the Mets vs. Yankees and tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert (anywhere in the world), the Me&Ro Heart & Wing Gala Pendant — designed for Mariska to wear at that Gala — and a Carolina Herrera dress, as well as backstage access to 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and "God of Carnage." Additionally, guests were invited to bid to support specific JHF programs including weeklong retreats, workshops in domestic violence shelters, and wellness days. We are incredibly thankful that so many offered and bid for such creative and unique items and experiences which raised over $400,000 to support the work of Joyful Heart.
A Joyful Noise: Concert and After Party
After a rousing live auction, the jubilant crowd was treated to musical performances by several brilliant performers. Three-time Grammy nominee and the thinking man of the hip-hop scene, Lupe Fiasco, thrilled the gala crowd with his hit single "Superstar" off of his second album Lupe Fiasco's The Cool. Lupe generously offered a $20,000 donation to Joyful Heart as an encore. Following Lupe Fiasco's high-energy performance was Paula Fuga, whose songs offered a soulful combination of jazz and Hawaiian instrumentals, which wowed the entire crowd. The show closed with Grammy award winner Sheryl Crow playing songs from her most recent album Detours as well as a particularly fitting cover of the Beatles' "Revolution" before Lupe and Paula joined her on stage for an indescribably joyful finale.
As the concert wound down on the main level, DJ Cassidy kicked the after-party into high gear on the second level of the event space with drinks from Barefoot Wines, Anheuser Busch, TYKU and Three Olives Vodka.
Farewell Until Next Year!
At the close of the night, as guests departed, each received gift bags filled with treats from sponsors including philosophy, Health magazine, Kenneth Cole and Erica's Rugelach.
Following Joyful Heart's successful Second Annual Gala, The Joyful Revolution, Board Member Peter Hermann along with JHF staff and program partners were invited to ring the opening bell of the NASDAQ stock exchange. Click here to see photos and learn more.