Actress and activist Eva Longoria was honored Friday night at the YWCA USA Women of Distinction Awards Gala in Washington, DC, as part of the YWCA USA 2013 What Women Want Annual Conference.
Longoria was awarded the Dorothy I. Height Racial Justice Award in front of over 400 Gala attendees at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill for her work as a dedicated philanthropist and advocate for racial justice whose contributions have made a national impact.
Alongside Longoria, the YWCA USA presented the 2013 Women of Distinction Awards to top leaders for contributions in four key areas of public life that assist women and communities in need: on behalf of Allstate Insurance, Victoria Dinges accepted the award for Corporate Social Responsibility and announced that AllState is doubling the number of YWCA’s across the country it will partner with in 2014 for its annual Purple Purse domestic violence education campaign; Commander Zoe Dunning, S.C. USNR (Ret.) accepted the award for Military/Veterans Affairs; Patty Stonesifer, formerly of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and now President and CEO of Martha’s Table accepted the award for Philanthropy; and Sharon Love, Co-Founder of the One Love Foundation accepted the award for Advocacy and Civic Engagement.
“It was with great pleasure that the YWCA USA celebrated five extraordinary honorees at the 2013 Women of Distinction Awards Gala last night. Their commitment, integrity and excellence serve as role models for women and girls everywhere. They have made a tremendous difference in the lives of others, helping improve and empower women across the country through their service and leadership,” Dara Richardson-Heron M.D., YWCA USA CEO said.
“Eva Longoria’s efforts to reach out and inspire women in diverse communities to get involved in the political process and take on leadership roles exemplify the life and work of civil rights pioneer Dorothy Height for whom her award was named. Ms Longoria deservedly earned the honor for her activism and her commitment to peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all,” Ms. Richardson-Heron added on presenting Ms. Longoria with the award.
“Dorothy Height spent her life making the case for equality during the civil rights movement, so to receive this award in her name is a tremendous honor. Our work is not yet done but, with an African American president and children of all backgrounds achieving success in college and beyond, we’ve made great strides in empowering communities across the country and there’s a real sense that racial justice is almost within our grasp,” Eva Longoria said on accepting the Dorothy I. Height Racial Justice Award.
Also at the Gala, emceed by Cynné Simpson, ABC7/WJLA-TV Anchor, YWCA USA recognized three local YWCA associations for their outstanding work in the areas of women’s empowerment, racial justice, and advocacy. Many of the Gala attendees were from the nearly 230 local YWCA associations around the nation that provide critical services and support in communities large and small, urban and rural.
VIP’s who attended the event included: Eva Longoria, Dorothy I. Height Award Recipient, Actress and Activist; Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., YWCA USA CEO; Cynné Simpson, Master of Ceremonies and ABC7/WJLA-TV Anchor; Ingrid Saunders Jones, Dorothy I. Height Tribute and Chair of the National Council of Negro Women; Sharon Love, Award Recipient and Co-Founder of the One Love Foundation; Commander Zoe Dunning, S.C. USNR (Ret.), Award Recipient and one of the first openly gay military members to serve this nation; Victoria Dinges, Award Recipient on behalf of Allstate Insurance; Patty Stonesifer, Award Recipient, founding CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and now President and CEO of Martha’s Table; Rebecca A. Hall, Chair of the YWCA USA Board of Directors; Deborah Thomas-Austin, World YWCA President; Paulette Senior, YWCA Canada CEO; and Lynne Kent, YWCA Canada Board President.