Girl Be Heard, a girl-led social justice theatre company, will honor creator and star of the Broadway smash Hamilton at a special luncheon at the Time Warner Center. Lin-Manuel Miranda and his father, Luis A. Miranda, Jr., will be the first recipients of the Girl Be Heard Fairy Godfather Award for being champions of social justice issues and giving back so much to their neighborhood, Washington Heights, and the larger NYC community. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will present the awards.
Girl Be Heard has, for several years, given the annual Fairy Godmother Award to inspirational women (including Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee).
The luncheon honoring the Mirandas will take place at One Time Warner Center on Monday, April 18, 2016, noon-1:30 pm. http://girlbeheard.org/hamilton-luncheon/
“These young women from Girl Be Heard are making a real difference in NYC and around the world by creating theatre that inspires social change,” says Hamilton Star and Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. “This is a charity we can, and should, all get behind. They treasure the issues that are most important to me and my dad — equality for all. They make me want to man up.”
“Lin-Manuel and I are honored to be the recipients of Girl Be Heard’s first-ever Fairy Godfather award,” says Luis A. Miranda, Jr. “I have known the Executive Director for many years and watched the nonprofit transform the lives of countless girls in NYC. It is an honor to support such a worthy cause.”
“Throughout history, creative expression has served as an important vehicle to advance causes of social and economic justice,” says NYC City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “That is why organizations like Girl Be Heard are so essential – they inspire the next generation of strong, empowered young women to get involved and invested in the fight for equality. I thank Girl Be Heard for their incredible work, and the Mirandas for their longstanding commitment to the cause.”
“Since its founding in 2011, Girl Be Heard has used theatre to inspire activism and shed light on social justice issues,” says Girl Be Heard co-founder and Executive Director Jessica Greer Morris. “It is beyond our wildest dreams to celebrate two NYC heroes, Luis Miranda and his son Lin-Manuel, the ‘young, scrappy, and hungry’ Shakespeare of our time.”
Girl Be Heard company members have created a special Hamilton-inspired performance called “WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS,” which will be presented during the lunch. This private lunch is made possible with support from the Ford Foundation, Forest City Ratner, and Time Warner. Our thanks to Ford Foundation CEO Darren Walker and Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin, CBS, Hearts on Fire, NY Women’s Foundation, and the Dobkin Family Foundation.
The idea for Girl Be Heard started when 12 teen girls wrote a show inspired by their stories at the EstroGenius Theatre Festival in 2008. Today, the renowned theater company supports 170 female performers ages 12-21, and is dedicated to empowering young girls and women through creative expression. Their performances of original work educate, empower, and engage audiences about issues ranging from bullying to body image. It is a global movement that has performed at the White House, United Nations, State Department, TED conferences, and in under-served communities in New York and around the world.
When Girl Be Heard was first launched, Latina and African American voices were rarely heard on Broadway stages. Incessant typecasting and racism in the media has and continues to plague our girls who try to break into the business. Luis and Lin-Manuel’s selfless commitment to community-building in NYC’s most diverse neighborhoods inspires and empowers our youth as they stage the revolution to end inequity in the arts and beyond. As playwrights, performers, activists, and advocates, it is impossible to describe the deep and meaningful impact Hamilton and In the Heights has had on our youth since the stars look like our youth, and many come from the same neighborhoods from which our talent hails.
“A number of the girls have roots in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean,” says Abigail Ramsay, Director of Global Partnerships. “So this opportunity has a special significance for all of us. Our cast represents Antigua, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, St. Croix, and Puerto Rico, and my family is from Jamaica.”