GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network), founded in 1990 by a group of Massachusetts teachers, has grown into the “leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe school for all students.”
Danny Moder & Julia Roberts will receive the Humanitarian Award for their commitment to, and support of, numerous philanthropic endeavors and humanitarian causes, including GLSEN, UNICEF, Heal the Bay, Stand Up To Cancer, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and many others. They bring a sense of stewardship, responsibility and consciousness to their humanitarian efforts and serve as wonderful role models. Both Danny and Julia are current Emmy Award nominees for their important work (he as Director of Photography, she as Supporting Actress) on the powerful HBO movie, The Normal Heart, which depicts the early days of the AIDS epidemic in New York City.
Roberts, whose husband was working in Texas, met some GLSEN ambassadors who talked about being bullied.
She said she wanted to “energetically pour my heart out to all the mothers of all the children who have ever suffered this kind of bullying and this kind of injustice. You just want to go in there and beat the s—t out of them – and you can’t because then there’s the second wave of bullying – ‘Oh, your mom just beat the s—t out of that guy.’”
After meeting with the GLSEN ambassadors, Robert said she felt “encouraged infinitely.”
“I will be a friend to all,” she said. “I identify tonight as ‘friend to all in this room’ because I’m so moved, I am so amazed and I feel that it is now our responsibility as the Moder family…to support all of you in this room in any and every way that we can.”
Roberts, whose speech ended around 10 p.m., a time, she jokes, during which she is entering her second REM cycle, closed on an uplifting note.
“What is the point if not to be kind and unconditional in our love and generosity toward one another?” she said. “What is the point of a day that doesn’t have some kind of positive feeling?”