Vivica Fox Honored For Her Pioneering Contributions To The Arts
By Otise Iman
The Foundation for Letters recently held its 5th Annual Gala Benefit to Honor Trailblazing Women of Color. Honoree Vivica A. Fox – actress, entrepreneur and philanthropist was honored for her pioneering contributions to the arts. A true trailblazer, Ms. Fox doesn’t just make moves in front of the camera. She has produced a multitude of television and film projects, creating opportunities and opening doors along the way. Telling our true stories honestly and truthfully in all of their variety is something that she has pushed for throughout her career. It comes as no surprise then that the Foundation For Letter’s mission to promote writing engagement, increase college readiness and improve global citizenship is a cause that Ms. Fox supports wholeheartedly. Encouraging young women of color to find their voice through writing has particular significance to her as an actress. As she knows all too well, many of the roles that are written for women of color are not written by women of color. Slowly though, that is changing. Vivica, who continues to break barriers in the film industry, will be making history by portraying the first African American female president in a feature film, and even for an actress with the kind of blockbuster credits she has, the significance of this role is not lost on her. “It’s a wonderful time for women to be seen as leaders, and its okay to be seen as powerful. We have to let the next generation know that they should expect the very best out of life,” she says. “That’s what a night like this is all about. Women coming together supporting one another, empowering one another, encouraging one another to live, to laugh, love.” She encourages us not to be afraid to embrace the power and the beauty that we have. Vivica Fox represents what we are; fabulous, talented, powerful and real.
Throughout the evening, the Foundation For Letters reiterated its commitment to closing the achievement and college readiness gap for young women of color. For the Foundation For Letters, supporting gains in literacy for young women of color can be the catalyst for transformative change for our community. The awesome honorees selected by the Foundation speak to the heart of that very principle. Tween social activist Marley Dias, whose passion for reading led her to create her now famous #1000blackgirlbooks campaign, reminds us that we all have the capacity to change the world, regardless of our age. As she states “I love reading and writing and thought to myself how can I use my talents and passions and figure out a way to use them to change the world?” She reminds us that as long as we follow our passion and listen to our heart, we can all make a difference.
Honoree Dr. Nadia Lopez, esteemed educator and author, was honored for her commitment to bringing social innovation to education for the empowerment of children. Novelist and CEO Carmen Rita Wong, who was also honored, has released the wildly successful novel “Never Too Real”, which is currently in negotiations to be optioned into a television series. Through her writing and her work, she is boldly challenging the way that Latina women are portrayed in film and television. Each of the honorees are amazing women who are using their voices to open doors and change the world.
The Foundation For Letters, through its mentorship and literacy exposure programs, have provided transformative experiences for the youth it serves. An impressive list of literary heavyweights serve as mentors and coaches for the students. In recent years, the organization has taken its youth abroad to countries as far away as Morocco, Senegal, Mexico and Ghana to encourage global citizenship and gain experience in travel journalism. Its youth have seen their works published in Breaking Bread: The Bronx Loaf Anthology, and some works have even been published by the esteemed Guernica Magazine. It is not only working to close the gap in high school achievement, it also introducing many of its participants to the idea of journalism and writing as a career. As Melissa Mulligan, former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Latina and consultant to Foundation For Letters states, “it is getting increasingly difficult to earn a living as writers, but we are paying the price for not having our stories out there. Let’s figure out how to make these careers work for these kids who are desperate to tell their stories.” Through the Foundation For Letters, the youth it serves are finding their voices, expanding their global perspectives, and discovering with each new experience power to impact change. To find out more about the Foundation For Letters, including how to support the organization, visit their website foundationforletters.net.