April 2012 - Equality Now recognized 20 years of working to protect and promote the human rights of women and girls around the world on April 19 with a celebration at the Asia Society in New York City that opened with a message from Advisory Board member Meryl Streep, read by the iconic actress Vanessa Redgrave. Hosted by Tony Award-winning playwright and Advisory Board Member, Sarah Jones, and written and directed by Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Joss Whedon, the variety-style show employed humor, drama, video, music and dance to creatively explore and highlight Equality Now's core thematic issues.
Long time partner and supporter, Jones, invited her multi-cultural characters to help emcee the event to the delight of the audience, while Whedon’s Evil Future Robot, Zombie and When I Speak pieces respectively underscored the absurdity of discrimination based on gender, the plight of women and girls exploited in the criminal sex trafficking industry, and the vulnerability of adolescent girls to abuses such as of child marriage, teacher rape and incest. Equality Now also premiered an anniversary video reflecting two decades of impact and a look ahead to the future. The evening was rounded out by a soulful performance from celebrated recording artist Natalie Merchant and a lively performance fusing traditional African dance and contemporary movement and music from the Jamal Jackson Dance Company.
More than 250 guests attended including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Equality Now co-founder, Navi Pillay, philanthropists Jennifer and Peter Buffett, designer Donna Karan, playwright and activist Eve Ensler and actor and former basketball pro Rick Fox. “The Cast” included Marcela Barry (The Arts Effect), Neil Casey, Eden Sanaa Duncan-Smith (Project Girl), Eliza Dushku, Natalie Haynes, Sophie Hearn (The Arts Effect), Sarah Jones, Laura Linney, Dan Mersh, Jillian Morgese, Vanessa Redgrave, Joss Whedon, Debra Winger and Daphne Zuniga. Stated Global Director Yasmeen Hassan, "Thank you to the writers and cast for making our 20th anniversary so special and bringing our work alive through your art. We hope this evening will inspire everyone to take action – each of you can make a difference!"
Video from the event can be viewed here:
Equality Now was profiled on NY1. To view, click here:
View Equality Now’s 20th Anniversary video:
Equality Now would like to thank event sponsors: Abigail E. Disney, Chandra Jessee, Sue Smalley & Kevin Wall, Eve Ensler, Laurie MacDonald & Walter Parkes, Gucci, Robert S. Neuwirth, Deborah Taylor Ashford, Lela Goren, Victoria Jackson, Michael Kassan, Karen Lehner, Melissa Salten & Richard Rothman and Jane Bovingdon Semel.