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Shonda Rhimes has a presenting gig lined up for Oct. 13.
The TV mogul has been confirmed to participate in UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability gala by introducing newly-announced honoree Amariyanna Copeny, also known as Mari or “Little Miss Flint.” The 14-year-old is being feted for her environmental advocacy and efforts to get clean, safe water in the wake of an unprecedented crisis in her hometown of Flint, Michigan. Notably, Copeny wrote a letter to then-President Barack Obama and he not only responded but visited the city and met with Copeny in 2016.
Since then, she has continued her advocacy by raising more than $1 million for safe water, partnered with Hydroviv to produce a water filter and appeared on NBC News and in the pages of The Washington Post and Teen Vogue. On Instagram, where she counts 154,000 followers, Copeny lists such titles as “future president, cheerleader, role model and influencer.”
“I’m honored to be recognized for my efforts in getting water into the homes of those who need it,” Copeny said in a statement, “but will be even more excited when those efforts are no longer necessary.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the UCLA IoES gala will take place virtually, a move that, per the organization, “opens the event to a broader, global audience, while continuing to supply critical funding for environmental education, research and outreach.” As previously announced, Jaden Smith will be honored during the festivities, which will also feature appearances by Al Gore, Harrison Ford, Issa Rae, Courteney Cox, Natasha Beddingfield and Sting with additional guests expected.
Also on the program will be Marilyn Raphael, the university’s first Black director of the IoES. She plans to address global environmental issues with a focus on equitable solutions for minority communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change. “The entire world faces threats from climate change and toxic pollution, but communities of color often live on the front lines,” Raphael said. “These communities suffer the most harm and have fewer resources to adapt.”
More information about the event can be found here.
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Jamie Lee Curtis