On June 17, 2015 9 parishioners were murdered by Dylan Roof at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. This attack was the latest example of the history of the violence – precipitated by bias – that has punctuated the history of America.  In an era in which the examples of the progress the United States has made on issues of bias and race are clear, this attack made evident the work that still needs to be done.

The survivors, victim’s families, church, and Charleston community responded with forgiveness. At Dylan Roof’s bond hearing, many of those most affected by the tragedy offered words of forgiveness to the, then, shooting suspect.

This response inspired A+E Networks to ask:

“Why doesn’t this type of tragedy receive the same type of public support that other disasters receive?”

“How can we help solve this problem?”

On October 22, 2015 A+E Networks & iHeartMedia announced “SHINING A LIGHT: A CONCERT FOR PROGRESS ON RACE IN AMERICA.” The benefit concert is inspired by the reaction of love and forgiveness displayed following the murder of 9 parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church. Watch 20 Nov 8/7c on A+E

With Values Partnerships I have had the privilege of working to build this campaign – concert, documentary, and fund – in a way that honors those who have been lost and supports solutions. Beyond creative input, I have worked to build the Fund for Racial Progress. Powered by the United Way Worldwide, the Fund will support organizations and individuals working on racial reconciliation, recognizing bias, and addressing disparities that break along racial lines.

We have recruited experts in the field to serve as the advisory committee for the fund that will launch when the concert airs on Friday November 20, 2015 at 8/7c.

Stay tuned for my blog series covering the launch of the campaign. More details below. Sign up for updates HERE!

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