Monday, June 17, 2024

Charity: New York Women’s Foundation Features Cynthia Nixon, Toshi Reagon, and a Lot of Percussion


This is what woke me up at the Marriott Marquis last week: to the amazing all-women Brazilian Samba Reggae drum line Fogo Azul. They were noisy but rhythmic. (See below)

The event was the annual New York Women’s Foundation Breakfast practicing “Radical Generosity” in Times Square. The organization, dedicated to creating a just and equitable future for women, girls, and gender-expansive individuals and their families, honored a diverse lineup: artist Andrea Arroyo among them. Her message: “Let’s be fierce and tender together. Art can change the world.” The recently deceased artist Faith Ringgold was acknowledged.

This Year’s the New York Women’s Foundation Celebrating Women Breakfast awards honored leading change-making organizations and individuals at a celebration in New York City. Since 1987, The Foundation has invested $125 million in 500+ organizations, creating a vibrant community of grantees, philanthropists, advocates, innovators, and change-makers.

Cynthia Nixon, one-time candidate for governor running against Andrew Cuomo, spoke about her wedding to Christine Marinoni at which famed roots singer Toshi Reagon officiated. Best known for her roles in “The Gilded Age,” and as Miranda on “Sex & the City” and its spinoff, “And Just Like That,” Nixon was a child actor on Broadway and grew up in this city.

Nixon — whose political stands are controversial, to say the least — wanted everyone to know her son, a grandchild of a Holocaust survivor, begged her to use her platform to stop war now. On the subject of protests at colleges: “We are brutally making young people pay for speaking up. Listen to young people. They are the best of us.”

And this year’s breakfast was memorable too for other speakers, women who were enabled to turn bleak and battered lives around with the help of this vital foundation that grants many other organizations to provide work, careers, counseling, inspiration. The powerhouse voice of the aforementioned Toshi Reagon ended the program singing “Freedom.”

The 2024 Celebrating Women Breakfast recognized Fondation CHANEL with the Vision Award for the organization’s courageous efforts in creating a world where women and girls are free to shape their own destiny. The following changemakers were awarded with Celebrating Women Awards: Andrea Arroyo, an award-winning visual artist, New York Liberty, an original WNBA team who embraces its role to elevate and embrace women while building community, Cynthia Nixon, Emmy and Tony award winning actress, activist, and theater director, Toshi Reagon, a singer song-writer who knows the power of song to unite and mobilize people for justice, and S. Mona Sinha, Global Executive Director of Equality Now.

The awards were presented by Jacqueline Woodson, MacArthur Fellow and National Book Award-winner for her children’s and adult books, Ana Maria Archilla, immigrant rights, worker justice, LGBTQ rights, and women’s rights advocate, and Foundation Board Members Anne Delaney, Helene Banks, Lola C. West and Karen Choi.

The celebration closed with a special performance by New York Liberty’s Timeless Torches, a 40-and-over dance team, and their mascot Ellie the Elephant, ending the program on the perfect high note, capturing the inspiration and motivation of the event.

Guests of note included  Andrea Arroyo, S. Mona Sinha, Jacqueline Woodson, Ana Maria Archilla, Anne Delaney, Helene Banks, Lola C. WestKaren Choi, Ana L. Olivieri, and Jean Shafiroff.

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