HARNESS Brings Together Entertainment, Tech, & Nonprofit Influencers

Over the weekend, Hawkins Mikita had the pleasure of working with Wilmer Valderrama, America Ferrera, and Ryan Piers Williams to join their HARNESS team and convene over 400 entertainment, tech, business, and nonprofit influencers to support and protect our most vulnerable communities.

"We are all part of this ecosystem," said Wilmer Valderrama as he opened the event. "We have a responsibility to understand, to unite, and to take action."

Senator for California, Kamala Harris, delivered a keynote address echoing Coretta Scott King as she reminded us that "the fight for justice must be fought and won with each generation."

The event hosted ten nonprofit organizations representing some of the most vulnerable communities whose missions are at stake under the current political climate. America Ferrera hosted various panels and discussions focussing on the Indigenous, black, Asian, immigrant, Muslim, and LGBTQ communities. 

With the help of numerous project managers, Hawkins Mikita is helping the HARNESS community focus the energy of Saturday's event into direct action and impact for these communities. 

Explore the HARNESS Spotlight online to learn more about the organizations present at the event.

HARNESS has launched a #30DaysofAction campaign on their online platforms offering action items daily, which everyone can take to stay informed and create change. 

Follow HARNESS online: (Facebook) (Twitter) (Instagram) (Website)


Photos by Paiwei Wei

Hawkins Mikita Hosts Congressman Swalwell

On Thursday night, Hawkins Mikita hosted Congressman Eric Swalwell in Los Angeles to introduce the Future Forum chairman to young professionals in the entertainment and nonprofit industries. 

Congressman Swalwell is an up-and-coming and impactful representative in Democratic leadership; he is a Ranking Member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence's Subcommittee on the CIA and is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. 

Congressman Swalwell, who represents California's 15th District and much of the East Bay, reminded us that a fundamental pillar of our democracy is the ability for ordinary citizens to speak up, speak out, and take action:

  1. Volunteer: Volunteer at local organizations for causes that inspire you. These organizations are built on individual participation and involvement. (Visit Harness.Space for some ideas).

  2. Speak Up: Call your city council member, mayor, state representative, governor, senator, or congressperson and make your voice heard. (Find your representatives' contact information here).  

  3. Run for Office: Run for your local school board, or assembly district, or city council position and affect change at every level in government. (Get started here).

  4. Register to Vote: Vote in every local, state, and congressional election. (Register to vote here). (Find your nearest swing district here). 

We are inspired by the work that Congressman Swalwell has accomplished in the House of Representatives, and we look forward to joining him in the fight to move our country forward.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson Visits His Turnaround Arts School

On Thursday, October 27, Jesse Tyler Ferguson visited Avenal Elementary School in Avenal, California, to enjoy and participate in a day full of dancing, arts & crafts, and poetry. 

Avenal Elementary School, located 200 miles north of Los Angeles in the state's Central Valley, is one of 68 schools part of the Turnaround Arts Initiative, a public-private partnership led by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to help turn around America's struggling schools.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson is one of dozens of Turnaround Artists who adopt Turnaround Arts schools, working directly with students and teachers, engaging parents and the school community, and highlighting the positive impact of the arts on their school’s transformation. 

At his latest visit to Avenal Elementary School, Jesse was treated to special dance and poetry performances by two 2nd grade classes, after which he spoke to the students about the importance of arts education in his life. Jesse added his hand print to the school's Red Ribbon Week mural with the help of kindergartners dressed for pajama day and also had time to speak with cast members from last year's production of Alice in Wonderland. 

Jesse is proud to be working with Avenal Elementary School for a third year as part of the transformational Turnaround Arts Initiative.

The Turnaround Arts Initiative is making significant impact across the country by improving math and reading scores by double-digit percentage points and decreasing in-school and out-of-school suspensions, some by as much as 89%.


Cyndi Lauper Hosts Inaugural Damn Gala to Support True Colors Fund

On Sunday, Cyndi Lauper hosted her inaugural Damn Gala - the first signature LA event in support of The True Colors Fund.

Hosted by Emmy-Award-winning personality Carson Kressley, the evening had special performances by Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz, and Sara Ramirez and featured inspiring youth talks by two 2016 40 of the 40 Honorees: Phoebe VanCleefe and Kahlib Barton. 

United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro delivered the keynote address for the evening and reaffirmed President Obama's administration's commitment to end homelessness, and focussing on LGBTQ youth is extremely important in achieving that goal. 

The True Colors Fund honored the Los Angeles LGBT Center and USA Network for their steadfast support and commitment to ending LGBT youth homelessness across the country.

In the days leading up Cyndi Lauper's Damn Gala, The True Colors Fund hosted their third annual 40 to None Summit at the LA LGBT Center’s Village at Ed Gould Plaza. This year's theme - "Coordination" - highlighted the importance for individuals and entities from various professional and personal backgrounds to work together to prevent and end LGBT youth homelessness.


Colton Haynes, Menswear Bloggers Design for Tie The Knot

Teen Wolf and Arrow star Colton Haynes joins Tie The Knot's extensive list of celebrity guest designers with his exclusive and limited-edition bow tie, which is part of the fall 2016 Tie The Knot collection launch! 

“I am so happy to help support Jesse & Justin - and Tie The Knot - with their fun and impactful approach to advocating for LGBTQ equality,” says Haynes. “Tie The Knot combines two very important aspects of my life - fashion and equality. It has never been so easy to support an important cause, and I am glad to be part of it.”  

Menswear bloggers Moti Ankari (The Metro Man), Marcel Floruss (One Dapper Street), and Nathan McCallum (Bangarang Blog) also designed unique bow ties for Tie The Knot inspired by their unique fashion senses, whimsical travels, and favorite design inspirations.

Sales of the bow ties support LGBTQ equality worldwide. $20 of every $25 Tie The Knot purchase at The Tie Bar (or $30 of every $35) is donated back to the organization so it may continue its mission of advocating for LGBTQ equality around the globe.