Last night, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence hosted their annual Bear Awards in honor of Jim “Bear” Brady in NYC, an evening that celebrated champions and real heroes in the gun violence prevention space. Reflecting on one year after the Las Vegas massacre, the evening was inspiring, uplifting, and left guests feeling charged to create change.
ROY WOOD JR. (comedian and actor) opened the evening followed by remarks made from KRIS BROWN and AVERY GARDINER, co-presidents of Brady. The recently launched End Family Fire PSA was shown to guests as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done. The PSA, which was covered in The New York Times, Good Morning America, MSNBC, Refinery29, Bustle, PEOPLE and NBCamong others, aims to raise awareness around the chilling statistic of 8 kids unintentionally injured or killed by an improperly stored gun.
A highlight of the evening was the live auction which featured items such as a set visit and meet and greet to MADAM SECRETARY generously donated by TEA LEONI, an ERIC CLAPTON experience at Madison Square Garden and tickets to The Golden Globe Awards official after party. Amid the auction, BRYAN CRANSTON surprised both guests and Christie’s auctioneer ROBBIE GORDY by jumping on stage to offer two tickets to opening night of NETWORK, his new Broadway play opening this fall. The winner will enjoy two tickets, a backstage meet and greet, and access to the after party on December 6th. After one guest rounded out the bidding at $11,000, which according to Bryan were tickets earmarked for his agents, he surprised the crowd again by offering a second pair for a matching bid, thus taking seats away from their “mooching relatives,” according to his wife who shouted from Table 8.
As guests finished dinner, BRYAN CRANSTON took the stage and joked about the mood changer that is Roy Wood to Walter White. He spoke about his outrage and despair for what he sees on television and reads in the news on an almost daily basis, and made reference to his upcoming Broadway play that is based on the movie Network by Patty Chayefsky. He read a short passage that was written back in 1975 but rings true to today. After sharing startling statistics such as there being 9 gun dealers for every Starbucks in the country, he introduced Tony Award winning composer JASON ROBERT BROWN. Brown, a 2018 Brady Bear Award recipient, took to the piano to perform “A SONG ABOUT YOUR GUN,” followed by a duet with multi-Tony Award nominee JOSHUA HENRY.
SARAH ULLMAN, filmmaker and founder of One Vote At A Time, introduced the Real Heroes portion of the evening - an opportunity to recognize the 2018 honorees including The Gun Safety Alliance, AMANDA WILCOX (Mother, Lobbyist, and Activist); JAMES SHAW, JR. (Father, Champion, and Activist); IVY SCHAMIS (Teacher, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and Activist); and AALAYAH EASTMOND (Student Survivor, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and Activist) who is using her voice to create real change.
Five real life heroes were honored for their work and a special performance took place as well. A full recap is below, along with a link to photos.