Emmy Award-winner for her role as the eponymous Grace on “Will and Grace” – and multi Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee – Debra Messing has joined the global leaders who are supporting the diversity and dignity campaign of Everyone Matters.
A cultural phenomenon, Everyone Matters is a big-tent online and community-based campaign that has mushroomed in less than a year to a total reach of 53 million on Facebook – (facebook.com/everyonematters) – with 160,000 followers, and weekly unique views up to 6 million. A projected 150 schools in the U.S. and elsewhere will host an “Everyone Matters Day” in 2013-2014, as several cities and states enact legislated “Everyone Matters Day” on April 2, 2014.
While Debra Messing has been adored by audiences and critics as one of television’s funniest comediennes – having been ranked #22 by the TV Guide Network in 2011 – she has also been acclaimed by the New York theatre community for her dramatic skills at the Manhattan Theatre Club in a production of Collected Stories by Donald Margulies, the pre-Broadway workshop of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and the upcoming Winter 2014 production of Outside Mullingar opposite Brian O’Byrne.
Debra Messing joins the following roster of leaders who support the humanitarian message of Everyone Matters, and have penned personal statements for the campaign: Sir Paul McCartney, Ellen DeGeneres, Hugh Jackman, George Clooney, General Colin Powell, Kevin Spacey, Tom Brokaw, HH the Dalai Lama, Nick Clooney and Nina Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Natalie Portman, Jeff Skoll, Christina Aguilera, Deepak Chopra, Dame Judi Dench, Betty White, Fran Drescher and Chris Kluwe.
Everyone Matters is happening in communities, schools and libraries, and through legislative action. The Maine State Legislature passed a resolution for “Everyone Matters Day,” beginning April 2, 2014. On that date, an estimated dozen cities and states – including Los Angeles, Dublin, Portland, San Francisco, Maine and others pending – are expected to commemorate that day, having passed resolutions and issued proclamations.
An estimated 150 schools – elementary, middle, high and college – are projected to organize on-campus “Everyone Matters Day” for 2013-2014, with such campus-wide activities as the “I Am!” pride-in-identity PhotoBooth and VideoWall, where students hold up hand-written signs proclaiming anything about themselves they want to affirm; the “24-Hour Challenge” to not judge in thought or action for the entire day; and the “Letting Go of Judgment Tree,” in which students anonymously share on paper leaves negative names they’ve been called or called others, which are then posted on an 9 foot paper tree display in a public space, accompanied by a ceremony.
The power – and success – of Everyone Matters is its humanistic, universal yet personal approach. The campaign advocates on behalf of everyone’s right to be who they are, without judgment, shame or attack, regardless of gender, age, weight, skin color, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical limitations – combined with the intertwined message that affirms pride in identity.
Other leading organizations supporting Everyone Matters include National Association of Secondary School Principals, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Student Affairs Administrators, The Museum of Tolerance, Special Olympics, National Organization of Women, UN Women National Committee United States, NAACP, GLAAD, Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, Association of American People with Disabilities, USC Shoah Foundation Institute, Equality Now, National Hispanic Media Coalition, MTV’s A THIN LINE Campaign, The Museum of Tolerance, National Partnership for Women & Families, Asian American Justice Center, Network National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Partnership for Women & Families, Asian American Justice Center, Network National Catholic Social Justice Lobby.
The Everyone Matters campaign, under the umbrella of the What’s Your Issue Foundation, was founded by social entrepreneur and journalist HeathCliff Rothman, whose previous social media civic engagement campaign was Film Your Issue (FYI). FYI was an issue -driven short film competition with a stellar roster of media partners and jurists that included then-Senator Barack Obama, Walter Cronkite, George Clooney, Tom Brokaw, as well as YouTube, Microsoft, Yahoo!, MSNBC, MySpace, AOL, MTV and others.