The nonprofit honored the actor and climate change activist, who called on guests to fight for global solutions
Words by MARIE LOOK
Los Angeles-based nonprofit and membership-based community Visionary Women celebrated International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 5, with a very special night honoring actor and activist Jane Fonda, who called on the 500 attendees to take action against climate change as she accepted the 2020 Visionary Women Activist Award.
An organization focused on women who are helping women, the group held the third edition of its annual event acknowledging strong female leaders around the world at the co-working space Studio at Beverly Hills. Among those who attended were Visionary Women president Shelley Reid; board members Monique Brown, Holly Baril, Price Arana, Nina Kotick, Nadine Watt, Thea Andrews Wolf, Karen Murphy O’Brien and Tara Church; co-founder and bestselling author Angella Nazarian; and co-founder and two-time former Beverly Hills mayor Lili Bosse.
After taking the podium, Reid welcomed everyone, saying of the global day of awareness, “This is our opportunity to stand up, shout out, and to tell the world that we are a community.” She also trumpeted the inauguration of the nonprofit’s newly established Chara Schreyer Arts Initiative — to be led by the project’s namesake, a renowned art collector and philanthropist, and Hammer Art Museum’s Erin Christovale. The initiative will aim to inspire conversations around social issues and unite women from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
Next, Reid welcomed to the stage actor Rosanna Arquette, whom Reid called “a fellow activist [and] progressive thinker.” In turn, Arquette gave a warm introduction to Fonda, saying, “As one of my dear friends for almost 40 years, I know that Jane, a true force of nature, is a visionary woman in every sense of the word — in sisterhood and in solidarity. She is a faithful and fearless female.”
“We are alive at a time when we have 10 years to choose to either allow things to get worse, or solve them”
Noting that Fonda’s activism has spanned several decades and dozens of worthy causes, Arquette declared her friend “the original influencer.” Referencing Fonda’s Fire Drill Fridays movement, which the Grace and Frankie star launched in Washington, D.C., to protest the climate crisis outside the United States Capitol, Arquette mentioned her friend’s arrests last year — and even recounted how she and others were also taken into custody in November after two-time Academy Award winner Fonda said her wish for her 82nd birthday was that her friends join her at one of her Fire Drill Friday protests.
“Only a few individuals known for their lifelong activism and commitment to national and global issues truly walk alongside those who are suffering and put themselves at risk for change,” Arquette said. “It is no secret that the extraordinary woman we are here to honor tonight is that kind of trailblazer.”
Fonda then made her way to the stage, where she accepted the 2020 Visionary Women Activist Award and warmly wished everyone a happy International Women’s Day. As guests drew close around her in the living room-like setting at Studio at Beverly Hills, Fonda’s tone then became more serious, and she spoke of humanity’s dire need to create large-scale, community-backed solutions to climate change.
“We’re facing a situation that humankind has never faced before and will never face again,” Fonda said. She explained that making changes as individuals — such as eliminating single-use plastic or installing solar panels at home — are helpful but can’t be scaled up fast enough to equal the 50 percent reduction in fossil fuel emissions that scientists recommend the world achieve within the next decade. “We are alive at a time when we have 10 years to choose to either allow things to get worse, or solve them. And we’re only going to [be able to] solve them if we stick together,” she emphasized. “ We need community, and we need it now more than ever. That’s why I’m so impressed and moved by this organization, Visionary Women.”
Also there to applaud Fonda’s message and support their fellow Angelenos were L.A. city council president Nury Martinez and L.A. city controller Wendy Greuel. Throughout the course of the evening, guests enjoyed performances by The Debbie Allen Dance Academy, and bites and refreshments by Casamigos, Sweetgreen, Sprinkles, Petrossian and more. Additional brands and businesses who showed their support of International Women’s Day by partnering with the event included Maurice and Paul Marciano, Wilderotter Winery, Salt Vine Wines, Veuve Clicquot, Volare, House of An, The Dirty Cookie, Zen Watr and One Energy Bar.
Feature image: JANE FONDA. All photos by Stefanie Keenan.
March 10, 2020
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