Mixing Fashion and Philanthropy, Areva Martin Raises $500K for Autistic and Special Needs Children
PHOTO COURTESY OF LEROY HAMILTON FOR THE SPECIAL NEEDS NETWORK
Other sponsors of the event include California Wellness, Microsoft, Walmart, the Los Angeles Lakers, SEIU 99 and US Bank. CBS2/KCAL9, also a sponsor, was the exclusive media partner, and Emmy-winning CBS2 anchor Pat Harvey served as the emcee.
"I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love for the 14th annual Pink Pump Affair. More than 350 powerful women came together to collectively say that kids with autism and special needs matter!" said Martin, the founder and president of SNN. "The generous donations will allow the Special Needs Network to continue the transformative work of fighting and advocating for Black and brown kids with autism and other special needs, and ensure that they are valued and given every opportunity to thrive in our society."
Hundreds of fashionistas, dressed in "power pink," gathered at the Pink Pump Affair for a fun-filled afternoon, which included a champagne reception, a silent and live auction hosted by comedian/actress and SNN board member Kym Whitley and an awards show, honoring women of distinction. Plus, a fashion show, featuring Gen Z emerging designer Journey Carter along with size-inclusive clothing brands from African American designers, presented by MaTte ArGyLe, wowed the audience with size inclusive women of color on the catwalk. MaTte ArGyLe is Black-owned boutique at Runway Playa Vista.
Other famous faces in the crowd included comedienne/actress Luenell as well as actresses Anna Maria Horsford, Vivica A. Fox and Elise Neal.
"It was such an emotional day to see so many women attend the Pink Pump Affair, supporting the very important work of the Special Needs Network," said Bonnie Berry Lamon, the Pink Pump Affair event chairperson and SNN vice president and board member. "With summer just around the corner, some of the money raised will fund Camp JPAC, a free summer inclusive camp for special needs children and their siblings."
AND THE AWARD GOES TO ... THE PINK PUMP HONOREES
This year's Pink Pump honorees included Emmy-winning producer and NAACP Image Award-winning actress and philanthropist Wendy Raquel Robinson. She received the Vanguard Award for her work as the co-founder and artistic director of Amazing Grace Conservatory, a theatrical training institute for youth in the Los Angeles community for more than 25 years. Kellie Hawkins Davis, the first Black, female equity partner with Englander Knabe and Allen (EKA), was presented with theTrailblazer Award for her groundbreaking work in the public and private sectors. The Everyday Advocate Award for demonstrating resiliency in the face of obstacles was presented to Audreona McRoy, an 18 year old with special needs who defied the odds by graduating high school and gaining admissions to college.
PINK PUMP ANNOUNCEMENTS
In a rousing speech during the charity event, Martin revealed that SNN will open LA's first-ever comprehensive medical and developmental center -- called the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (C.A.A.D) -- in the late fall of 2022. The state-of-the-art autism center on the campus of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital will serve thousands of families in the Watts/Willowbrook neighborhoods and surrounding areas each month.
Martin also revealed SNN's new initiative, called the Special Needs Network Think Institute for Research and Economic Advancement. The Think Institute will be the region's first think tank and research institute, located in South Los Angeles, focused solely on dismantling systemic racism in health and autism care. Through collaborative partnerships with local colleges, national thought leaders and clinicians, the Think Institute will create anti-racist and inclusive service delivery models for individuals of color with autism and other special needs as well as address issues of homelessness, employment and entrepreneurship for BIPOC individuals with special needs.
ABOUT SPECIAL NEEDS NETWORK (SNN)
Special Needs Network (SNN) was founded by media personality and civil rights attorney Areva Martin, Esq. in 2005 after she was met with obstacles in accessing necessary services for her son, Marty, who was diagnosed with autism at two years old. SNN is one of the nation's leading social justice, autism, and disability rights organizations. Based in Los Angeles, the organization provides innovative direct service and online programming, focused on supplying aid and resources to hundreds of thousands of families annually. Its mission is to combat the discrimination disenfranchised communities of color face in getting proper care and resources for minority children with developmental disabilities.
Under the helm of Martin, SNN will open the region's first-ever comprehensive medical and developmental center called the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (C.A.D.D.). The center is scheduled to open fall 2022 on the campus of Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in the Watts/Willowbrook community of South Los Angeles. C.A.D.D. will provide tens of thousands of young people and their families with compassionate, integrated diagnoses and intervention services, speech, occupational, physical, and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapies.
For more information about SSN, visit SNNLA.org