LOS ANGELES, Beverly Hilton Hotel, 26TH OCTOBER 2009. In the presence of many Hollywood stars, at the 13th Hollywood Award Gala Ceremony in Los Angeles, Father Richard Frechette received the Hollywood Humanitarian Award, for his dedication to fighting injustices and creating social change for the improvement of humanity, and in particular for his work in favour of the children of the fourth world country of Haiti.
Past editions of the Award had been bestowed on other relevant people such as the Nobel Prize winners Jody Williams and Dr. José Ramos Horta. The event, which is considered to be a sort of a preview, and a kick off to the race to the Academy Awards, was attended by some of the brightest stars of the Hollywood community, from Steven Spielberg to Robert De Niro, from Charlize Theron to Hillary Swank, from Morgan Freeman to Sandra Bullock.
The Award was given to Father Rick by the actress Maria Bello, who personally witnessed his work in a humanitarian trip to Haiti last December together with a group of friends including Josh Brolin, Diane Lane, Madeleine Stowe lead by the 2 time Academy Award-winner film director and screenwriter Paul Haggis.
Haggis visited Haiti twice together with the volunteers of Fondazione Francesca Rava – N.P.H. Italia Onlus and having visited the total destitution of the country and the dramatical conditions of the children, decided to found Artists for Peace and Justice, a foundation committed to help Haiti and support Father Rick’s work. The prize winners of his special night, including Julianne Moore – best actress in a supporting role – actors, film directors and all the community have expressed their total support to Haggis and Father Rick.
Fondazione Francesca Rava – N.P.H. Italia Onlus
Father Rick’s speech at the Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony
“I sincerely thank you all at the Hollywood film festival for this generous recognition which is for me also a recognition of you concern for our neighbours in distress off our shores and of your desire to help enable the children of Haiti to enter into a future that is more just, more peaceful, and of more opportunity.
I especially thank Paul Haggis, my good friend, who is not here because of filming in Pittsburgh and the amazing foundation that he has created, Artists for Peace and Justice
Through this foundation, Paul is linking Hollywood to Haiti and linking the creative power of your art and profession – the crafting of images that can mirror, transform and lead society – with the creative dreams of the children of Haiti whose imaginings and yearnings for a better future are often shattered by the sad realities of poverty, ignorance and death.
This link which we are forging will strengthen the children for their march into a better life.
Already, Artists for Peace and Justice are assuring for 5000 children clean water, nutritious food and good medicines to strengthen their bodies; education and the stimulation of imagination to strengthen their minds; and friendship and solidarity to strengthen their hearts.
Artists for Peace and Justice is made up entirely of people of good will, volunteers, which enables 100% of each donation made to go directly for projects for the children in Haiti.
And, many artists, like Maria Bello here at my side, come to Haiti with Paul to work along with us and the children in concrete acts of justice.
Works of justice are works of peace.
I salute the Haitians present here: Ambassador Geri Benoit, Jean Nebez Augustin who does all the hard work on the ground in Haiti,his sisters Drelene Augustin, and actor Jimmy Jean Louis.
We join forces with them in trying to lead Haiti into a more prosperous communion with the world of nations
God bless you.
God bless the people of Haiti.
God bless the people of America.
Thank you again and good night!”