Anti-Defamation League Raises $1M at Houston in Concert Against Hate

Alfre Woodard and Bun B.

Alfre Woodard and Bun B. Photo by Stephanie Maierson

HOUSTON (November 15, 2013) – The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) presented Houston In Concert Against Hate featuring the Houston Symphony, Emmy-award winning actress Alfre Woodard and Hip-Hop Artist Bun B on Thursday, November 14th at 8 p.m. at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St., Houston, TX  77002.  The concert celebrated and recognized the joint Centennials of ADL and the famous Houston Symphony.

The Concert was an inspirational, musical evening that honored the extraordinary leadership of Houston-area heroes and icons who have courageously stood up for respect and against hate, bigotry and extremism in our community.  The stories, woven together by author and scriptwriter Leah Lax, illustrated by photographer Talya Arbisser, and narrated by Ms. Alfre Woodard, were interwoven with music performed by the Symphony, to honor the history and legacy of ADL’s 100 years of work and celebrated ADL’s commitment to combatting hatred in all forms.

Bun B, accompanied by the Houston Symphony, provided a tribute to the educators being honored at the concert in the first-ever collaboration between the Houston Symphony and a Hip-Hop artist.

At a dinner at Bayou Music Center prior to the Concert, ADL presented a Centennial Award to Houston attorney and lifelong civil rights champion Marvin D. Nathan for his contributions in fighting anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination, and for his promotion for freedom for all to a stellar crowd of over 450 people including Centennial Honoree Marvin D. Nathan, Arlene Nathan, Nicole and George Gibson and their colleagues from Nathan Sommers Jacobs, Rochelle and Alan Jacobson, Lois and George Stark, Dr. Kelli and Martin Fein, the Warren/Spector Family, the David Barish Family,  Guy Robertson, Jr., Regina Rogers, Tony and Donna Vallone, Sherry Bender Levy and the Bender/Levy family, Cathy and Giorgio Borlenghi, Marathon Oil, and ADL Board Chair Jerry Axelrod. In the balcony of Jones Hall, a small crowd of 70 persons, including all below honorees and their respective guests, enjoyed a pre-concert celebration and dinner.

Houston-area heroes recognized during the concert represented four themes.  For promoting civil rights for all, Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, Rabbi Samuel Karff, and the Rev. William A. Lawson were honored.  For challenging hate and bigotry, Texas Senator Rodney Ellis, Texas Representative Senfronia Thompson and the family of James Byrd, Jr., including his children Renee, Jamie and Ross, were honored.  For fighting anti-Semitism, Houston Holocaust survivors, represented by Celina Fein, Walter Kase, Bill Morgan, and Naomi Warren were honored. And for encouraging inclusive and welcoming education for all, Esther Campos, Michael Feinberg, Dr. Thomas Freeman, and Carol Shattuck were honored.

“All who were recognized during this special concert and ceremony have dedicated their lives to making Houston, Texas, this nation and our world inclusive, respectful, and rich in diversity,” said Martin B. Cominsky, ADL Southwest Regional Director.   “Each individual has fought hatred for many years, just as ADL has,” he added.  “Their commitment to justice and fair treatment for all is nothing short of legendary.”

The event was underwritten in part by the law firm of Nathan Somers Jacobs, and raised over $1 million, with proceeds from the concert enabling ADL to continue the wide range of programs and services that address the root causes of hatred and bigotry.  For 100 years, the Anti-Defamation League has been a force for change, a champion of our nation’s values and a shield against hate and extremism. Our mission: to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment for all.

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