Medgar Evers College/CUNYThird Annual Legacy Awards Gala & Dinner benefit fundraiser at the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel on Thursday, October 2, 2003, it was announced last month by Dr. Edison O. Jackson, president of the college.
“The annual black-tie event serves as the college’s principal fundraiser for its scholarship endowment fund which guarantees future students a chance for a higher education,” said Dr. Jackson. The gala also celebrates the work of community, business, corporate and global leaders who have made tremendous contributions to higher education and youth empowerment and who embody the values of the distinguished civil rights leader, Medgar Wiley Evers, the college’s namesake.
This year’s honorees are: Attorney Willie E. Gary, entrepreneurs and youth motivators Russell and Joseph Simmons, top banking executive Donna Wilson and television jurist Judge Joe Brown.
The event program will also feature the inspirational singing of Broadway actress and renowned singer Melba Moore. The Tony Award-winning actress will perform two selections, including her signature “Lift Every Voice” and an original song written for the honorees entitled “On These Shoulders.”
The evening will be co-hosted by WNBC-TV News Channel Four’s John Noel and Fox Political News Analyst Angela McGlowan. It also will showcase the college’s Imani Singers and Dancers, a spoken-word performance, and include a silent auction, reception and special video presentations.
Attorney Willie E. Gary is known as “The Giant Killer” because he represents regular people in major cases, and wins. Forbes magazine listed him as one of the top 50 attorneys in the United States and he has been profiled in such publications as The New York Times and Black Law Journal. He was also profiled on CBS’s 60 Minutes. He is chairman and CEO of Major Broadcasting Cable Network (MBC), which provides family-oriented programming.
Over the past 25 years, Russell Simmons has championed hip-hop as not only a music form, but a lifestyle and culture. His empire includes Def Comedy Jam, HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, the 2002 Tony-Award winning Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam On Broadway, Phat Farm men’s clothing line, Baby Phat-women’s clothing line, Phat Farm Boys and Baby Phat Girlz. Simmons, publisher of One World magazine, gives back to the arts and African-American community through Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which he and brothers Danny and Joseph began in 1995. He also organized and serves as the chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN).
Joseph Simmons, music icon, entrepreneur and spiritual leader, received world fame as “Run” of the famous rap group Run-DMC, the first rap group to be featured on MTV, to have an album (“Run-DMC”) go gold, and to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Run-DMC was also the first hip-hop crossover group, the first rap group to win a Grammy, and the first to appear on American Bandstand and Saturday Night Live. Today, Joseph Simmons is an ordained minister. His businesses include Run Athletics, a clothing company, and Phat Farm Sneakers. He is popularly known as Rev. Run.
Donna Wilson is Northeast President of Washington Mutual’s Community and External Affairs, a group dedicated to strengthening the company’s community-related activities. In this role, she oversees all aspects of corporate giving and community development initiatives, government affairs, affordable multifamily lending and investment and employee volunteerism. She was cited by The Network Journal last year as one of its “25 Influential Black Women in Business” and in Crain’s New York Business magazine’s lists of “Top 100 Minority Executives” and “Top 40 Under Forty.”
When the cameras are off on his popular Paramount Domestic Television broadcast JUDGE JOE BROWN, the nontraditional, no-holds-barred presiding judge (and sought-after motivational speaker) talks to young people in schools, at lecture halls and on street corners to impress positive messages of self-esteem and self-empowerment. Brown is an honors graduate with a law degree from UCLA. He is also the first African-American prosecutor for the city of Memphis, where he served as a judge for the Shelby County Criminal Court. He was honored at the Kennedy Center with the Olender Foundation’s Advocate for Justice Award, one of many in recognition for his innovation and service as a jurist and a community leader and his successful efforts to demonstrate the law to millions of Americans via his daily half-hour broadcast.
Medgar Evers College, located at 1650 Bedford Avenue in central Brooklyn, first opened its doors in 1971. Its graduates have gone on to careers in business, government, the arts, science and education. The alumnae include New York State Senator Carl Andrews and motivational author and television personality Iyanla Vanzant. More information is available on the CUNY Web site (www.mec.cuny.edu) . For tickets, please call: 718-270-6971.