On September 15, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) honored Charlize Theron, Colin Farrell and Sheryl Lee Ralph with the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS Award at The Elizabeth Taylor Ball to End AIDS fundraising gala.
GRAMMY-winning Motown legend Thelma Houston performed at the event. The evening was generously supported by Presenting Sponsor Gilead Sciences, Inc. and Diamond Sponsor BVLGARI.
The gala included a seated dinner, an exciting live auction in partnership with Christie’s featuring unique works of art and luxury experiences with Tash Perrin serving as auctioneer, and a live performance by Thelma Houston. Daniel O’Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gilead Sciences, Inc., presented the event honorees with the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS Award. Guests were given an up-close look at exclusive items from The Elizabeth Taylor Archive including highlights from Elizabeth Taylor’s personal life, film career, and humanitarian legacy.
- On-stage while accepting the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS Award, Colin Farrell said, “It’s an honor to be here, it’s an honor to know Elizabeth. This is lovely, but any time an actor, singer, artist or writer gets honored, I think the honor is obviously less about what they’ve done and more about what they are given the opportunity to shine a light on and so that’s why we’re all here today. [AIDS] is still stealing lives – too many – and Elizabeth’s dream was to end HIV/AIDS forever and we haven’t got there. There’s still more work to do. Elizabeth led the way with the bravery of her humanity at that time. She’s somebody who didn’t believe that compassion or friendship or hope were inactive ideas or emotions – they were things that you had to do. Love is something that we make a decision to do every day – to love each other, to care for each other – that’s what Elizabeth did.”
- Charlize Theron said, “She [Elizabeth] was a fierce fighter, a staunch advocate, but she also always kept compassion at the heart of her messages and efforts. Elizabeth would have been 90-years-old this year and like many of us, I have no doubt she would be wishing we weren’t still fighting this fight, but we are – so let’s not let her down. As I accept this humbling honor, besides my heartfelt thank you to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, I only have four words for all of us: Let’s go to work.”
- Sheryl Lee Ralph while accepting her award on-stage said, “The truths are not easy and 40 years later people want to act like it didn’t happen, but it did happen. It was horrible. It was ugly, and it was America. And it spread to the rest of the world. And when you used your voice to speak up, people wanted to tell you, ‘You need to shut up.’ Nobody wants to hear about that, even those who were infected told you, ‘This is not your fight, stop it, you will make it worse for us,’ and because some people did not use their voice, did not speak up, were silent, it has become, and still is, horrible for all of us. Forty years later, AIDS in America is still here. Raise your voice, do the work, decriminalize it, and open up your heart and your minds to people who do not look like you.”