Zoe Winkler Co-Hosts 'This Is About Humanity' Dia de los Muertos Dinner

Angela Kohler
Zoe Winkler, Elsa Marie Collins and Yolanda Selene Walther-Meade

The movement raised funds for organizations supporting separated and recently reunited families.

As a mother of three, Zoe Winkler, daughter of Emmy-winning actor Henry Winkler, said she felt compelled to take action when news of families being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border came out.

She joined social impact consultant Elsa Marie Collins and her sister Yolanda Selene Walther-Meade to form This Is About Humanity, a campaign to raise awareness and funds for organizations representing separated and recently reunited families.

“I could not get the images out of my head of these children,” Winkler told The Hollywood Reporter. “I have a 1-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old, and having them separated from me would be, I don’t know that they would make it. I mean it’s so damaging and we’re living in such a scary time as it is right now that I feel like I never in my life thought I would become an activist, but I don’t have any other choice.”

She said her father, for her parents’ holiday gift this year, decided to donate to the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, one of the beneficiaries of a Dia de los Muertos benefit dinner held at the Winkler residence on Friday.

The Winklers’ front yard was furnished with three long tables, a tequila bar and the main centerpiece: a Dia de los Muertos altar adorned with flowers and candles. Sugar skulls, papel picado (paper cutout) placemats and marigold bouquets decorated the dining tables.

The dinner featured a four-course menu catered by Mexican chefs such as Food Network’s Marcela Valladolid and Ray Garcia, who owns the restaurant Broken Spanish in Los Angeles. Dishes served included a vegetarian tamale topped with pistachios and a game hen drizzled in molé. Dessert came in the form of a churro cart, which guests visited at the end of the night. For tableside entertainment, guitarist David Maldonado played acoustic versions of “Maria Maria” and “Bailando.”

Collins spoke with THR about the beginnings of the This Is About Humanity movement. Over the summer, the group took a bus of about 40 people — including influencers and mothers — down to Tijuana, where Collins grew up, to learn more about the effects of the separation policy.

“And so then kind of a natural result was, besides educating people, how do we do something to fundraise for the separated and reunited families? And that’s how this dinner came out,” she said.

Before the main courses, two women shared their stories of being detained at the border — one was a mother who was separated from her child and the other was a college student recounting being separated from her brother.

Guests in attendance included Minka Kelly, writer Brad Wollack and Philip Button, executive vp international production and management for STX Entertainment. At the end of the night, it was announced that $76,000 had been raised.