LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Committee of Human Rights Watch had its most successful fundraising dinner to date, raising more than every year prior.
The event, which took place Tuesday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, had an immense amount of celebrities and influential people in attendance including Eric Esrailian, Serj Tankian, Angela Sarafyan, Kimberly Marteau Emerson, Mike Medavoy, David Foster, Katherine McPhee, and Linda Ramone. Last night also introduced the inaugural Promise Award, followed by a very special performance by Ryan Tedder and Drew Brown of OneRepublic.
Inspired by the film and song that powerfully depicted the atrocities committed against the Armenian people; the award recognizes an outstanding song, television show, or film that advances the values of equity and justice in an original and powerful way. Fittingly, the inaugural honor was awarded to the late legendary singer and songwriter Chris Cornell in recognition of his song, The Promise. The award was presented by Producers of The Promise Eric Esrailian, Mike Medavoy, Writer/Director Terry George, and Singer/Songwriter, Human Rights Activist, and Composer Serj Tankian. Chris’s wife, Vicky Cornell, accepted the award on his behalf and was accompanied by Cornell’s bandmates, Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron of Soundgarden.
Pioneering recording artist Chris Cornell, who sadly passed away in May, wrote the title song for the film, The Promise, the first major film about the Armenian Genocide. The song and its video compellingly weave the Genocide with humanitarian crises of today. The song focuses on courage, perseverance, and hope — connecting us to emotions that characterize and amplify the worldwide struggle for human rights. Cornell donated all proceeds from the song to benefit refugees and children, and his song continues to inspire millions as an anthem for the human rights movement.
“We are proud to name this award after The Promise, and present the inaugural award to Chris Cornell’s inspiring song,” stated Justin Connolly, Director of Human Rights Watch’s Los Angeles Committee.
Following the award, songwriter, Grammy Award-winning record producer, and OneRepublic front man Ryan Tedder graced the stage and honored the late Soundgarden lead by performing an acoustic version of “The Promise” with bandmate Drew Brown to a standing ovation.
Ryan Tedder is an in-demand hit songwriter, a Grammy-winning record producer and the charismatic lead singer, multi-instrumentalist and main writer of the Grammy-nominated band OneRepublic. Tedder wrote, produced and performed OneRepublic’s smash hits “Apologize,” “If I Lose Myself,” “I Lived,” and “Counting Stars,” which went #1 in 54 countries, going on to become OneRepublic’s biggest song ever. Beyond the success of OneRepublic, Tedder simultaneously established himself as a musical force, writing and/or producing tracks for an impressive roster of artists including: Beyoncé, Adele, Leona Lewis, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, U2, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5 and many more of music’s biggest names.
The Promise Film, the first major Hollywood film about the Armenian Genocide, has raised unprecedented awareness about the atrocities and recruited the general public and influencers from around the world to fight for human rights with its #KeepThePromise social media campaign. All proceeds of the film are being donated to non-profit organizations and humanitarian causes—including the establishment of The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA.
Human Rights Watch is one of the pre-eminent Human Rights Organizations in the world, with 430 staff investigating abuses in over ninety countries. The Los Angeles Committee supports Human Rights Watch through outreach, advocacy and fundraising. It is part of a network of committees across 22 cities in East Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. For over 25 years, the Committee has dedicated itself to broadening awareness of human rights issues throughout Southern California.