We Are Family Foundation

October 4, 2009 6:49:49 AM PDT
It's mission is to respect and understand cultural diversity for the global family. The We Are Family Foundation is celebrating its 7th Annual We Are Family Celebration. Legendary songwriter, musician and producer, Nile Rodgers, joined us with details. What is the We Are Family Foundation?

Our mission is to respect and understand cultural diversity - for the global family. One of our signature programs is Three Dot Dash - an initiative that supports Global Teen Leaders (GTLs) around the world who are actively working on projects that promote a more peaceful society. The program was inspired by the late 13-year-old poet and peacemaker Mattie J.T. Stepanek. The name Three Dot Dash is a mash-up of Morse code, used by telegraphs, and the two-fingered "V" gesture that has come to be known as the peace sign.

How did it start?

We Are Family was born after 9/11 as a way to start the healing process. We gathered over 200 celebrities, singers and personalities to re-record the song, reinforcing the poignant that we are a global family that is more alike than different.

What are the details on the gala?

The We Are Family Gala is October 5th at the Hammerstein Ballroom. It's a big event and will be hosted by Rosie Perez. This year we are honoring Archbishop Desmond & Leah Tutu as well as Google Earth, David & Susan Rockefeller and Kool N the Gang. The money raised at the Gala will go to support the WAFF's mission and programs including Three Dot Dash-WAFF's signature program to support teen leaders around the world who are actively working on programs that address basic human needs and promoting a more peaceful society.

For more on the We Are Family Foundation, visit www.wearefamilyfoundation.org.

For more on Three Dot Dash:

Three Dot Dash® was inspired by the late 13-year-old poet and peacemaker Mattie J.T. Stepanek.

Many people know about Mattie from his six New York Times best selling "Heartsongs" poetry books expressing universal messages of hope and peace. They may have seen one of his many inspiring interviews on Oprah or Larry King Live, or be familiar with his work as the National Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association as he suffered from Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy, a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

The We Are Family Foundation® (WAFF) first learned of then 11-year-old Mattie in 2002 and was so inspired by his story, message and spirit that he was chosen as the first We Are Family Peacemaker honoree. WAFF and Mattie shared visions of a global family and the theory that peace is possible. However, Mattie believed that in order to promote peace, one must be peaceful inside. And, in order for one to be peaceful inside, one must have his/her basic human needs met: food, water, health, shelter, safety, education and the environment.

Mattie's writings of hope and peace were carried internationally with the help of his mentors and public media figures including President Jimmy Carter, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Maya Angelou and Larry King.

Mattie died in 2004. His last book, entitled Just Peace: A Message of Hope, written with Jimmy Carter, was published after his death and became WAFF's inspiration for Three Dot Dash. In his short 13 years, Mattie's visionary leadership affected millions worldwide and inspired a global "peace buzz" that will continue with Three Dot Dash.

Mattie was recently named by USA TODAY as one of 25 people in the last 25 years "who moved us" and who has had an indelible impact on the world.

For more on Three Dot Dash, visit www.threedotdash.org.