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Geena Davis was celebrated for her work off screen – founding and promoting the See Jane program of Dads & Daughters – in Beverly Hills, California on May 1, 2007 at the USA TODAY Hollywood Hero Awards.

The evening, hosted by Kevin Nealon and Natasha Henstridge, began with a silent auction to benefit the See Jane program. It then moved onto a dinner and numerous speakers praising Ms. Davis for her genius starting the program (after the birth of her first child, a girl), her ability to inspire others, and for her passion advocating for all our children. Craig Moon, President and Publisher of USA TODAY, and father of one boy and four girls, spoke generously of Ms. Davis at the ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel, saying she was rewriting the very definition of the word “hero”.

Peter Coyote, actor, activist and single father of a grown daughter, wished the See Jane program had existed sooner. Though he joked, he hadn’t done too badly since his daughter is now a PhD and has a daughter of her own.

Nina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment and long-time friend, stressed the importance of the See Jane program because “the media is where young girls get their first role models”. She also said of Ms. Davis “you are my blessing”.

And Kathy Najimy, mother of a ten-year old girl, thanked “Auntie Geena” because “girl-power stories are not easy to find”. In closing, Ms. Najimy was greeted with applause of agreement when in reference to Ms. Davis as a role model in her show Commander in Chief said, “let’s write her name in for ’08”.

Finally, Geena Davis took the stage, thanking everyone for his or her kind words and restating the program’s mission statement “By making it common for our youngest children to see everywhere a balance of active and complex male and female characters, girls and boys will grow up to empathize with and care more about each others’ stories”. Ms. Davis recognized Ms. Najimy as one of the early supporters of See Jane and joked that she couldn’t be the “auntie” since they were the same age.

Ms. Davis also thanked the See Jane program director, Crystal Allene Cooke and Dr. Stacy Smith of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication for the ongoing in-depth research—to paraphrase—proving her instincts were right.

To learn more about the See Jane program and see what you can do to
make a difference, visit the See Jane website.

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