Planned Parenthood Honors ABC Family’s The Fosters and Bet Network’s being Mary Jane at Annual Gala

Event Featured Singer Mavis Staples and Comedian Tig Notaro as Emcee

Other Awardees Include Nancy Pelosi, Michael Bloomberg, and Rev. Dr. William Barber II


WEBWIRE – Saturday, March 29, 2014

New York, NY –  Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) presented the 2014 Maggie Awards for Television to ABC Family’s The Fosters and BET Network’s Being Mary Jane at their Annual Gala, in recognition of the shows’ superb handling of themes of reproductive health, sexuality, and relationships.

The Gala was part of Planned Parenthood’s “Stronger Together” Conference, the organization’s largest annual gathering, attended by Planned Parenthood national and affiliate staff from across the country, elected officials, leaders of other national organizations, and prominent supporters.

“Last year we celebrated our national conference with the President of the United States, so we figured in order for this year to live up to expectations, we had better go big or go home,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards as she welcomed guests last night. “We’re honoring some of the fiercest champions for women’s health care tonight – this is our chance to bring together the best of the Planned Parenthood family, along with our friends and leaders with whom we are so proud to work side by side for social justice.”

Emceed by comedian Tig Notaro with a memorable performance by singer Mavis Staples, this year’s Gala also presented the Margaret Sanger Award to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Planned Parenthood Global Citizen Award to former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and the Planned Parenthood Care. No Matter What. Award to Reverend Doctor William Barber II. President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Vicki Cowart took home the Ruth Green Award for her outstanding leadership and vision.

“I accept this honor tonight on behalf of my colleagues, who have fought the fight for and with you,” said Congresswoman Pelosi in her acceptance speech. “The aim of smart public policy in our country is to advocate for opportunity and freedom – the opportunity to lead healthy lives and the freedom of Americans to make their own choices.”

“We must build a movement knowing that those against Planned Parenthood are also against voting rights, labor rights, and immigration reform,” said Rev. Barber upon acceptance of his award. Rev. Barber leads the “Moral Mondays” social justice coalition movement in North Carolina, bringing together partners advocating for voting rights, health care, immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, and economic equality. “The same people trying to gut voting rights are the same people trying to remove southern states from [Medicaid] coverage, and are the same people trying to remove women’s rights. We are stronger together when we fight these injustices together.”

ABC Family’s The Fosters – from executive producer Jennifer Lopez and creators Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige – tells the compelling story of a multi-ethnic family of foster, adopted, and biological children being raised by two mothers. In its first season, the show has tackled themes of safe sex, birth control, and sexuality through the lens of a thoroughly modern family. Bredeweg and actor Teri Polo – who plays Stef Foster, one of the mothers – accepted the award for The Fosters.The Fosters’ motto is ‘DNA doesn’t make a family, love does,’” said Bredeweg.

“Our family represents the new, loving and modern family,” continued Bredeweg. “Two incredibly smart and passionate biracial lesbian women raising a family made up of a multicultural mix of biological, adopted, and foster kids. A family that is allowed to make their own choices, to decide what is best for their own family. With all of the prejudice and discrimination that we still have to fight as gays and lesbians, as women, as different races – the last thing we should be fighting for are our own bodies.”

In its first season, BET Network’s Being Mary Jane has become the number-one cable drama series on television, with a debut of 3.3 million viewers. Created and executive produced by Mara Brock Akil, creator of The Game and Girlfriends, Being Mary Jane follows successful news anchor Mary Jane Paul (Gabrielle Union) as she navigates relationships, family drama, and career challenges. Each week, the hit show touches on themes like healthy relationships, teen pregnancy, sexuality, and safe sex. Akil accepted the award via video message with BET’s Vice President of Public Affairs Sonya Lockett on hand at the Gala.

Each year, the PPFA Maggie Awards recognize exceptional contributions by the arts and entertainment community that enhance the public’s understanding of reproductive and sexual health care issues and sex education.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.



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