LOS ANGELES — The vibrant Beverly Hills Hilton was abuzz with excitement as civil rights attorney and child advocate Areva Martin and Special Needs Network (SNN) presented the 15th Annual Pink Pump Affair, an annual signature charity event. The affair, held on Sunday, May 21, 2023 brought together more than 500 influential women and men from entertainment, government, media, non-profits and business to celebrate remarkable individuals who have ignited powerful growth and brought about extraordinary change throughout Southern California.
Clad in striking power pink attire, hundreds of professionals converged for this highly anticipated springtime extravaganza. The day was packed with activities, including a captivating fashion show, a champagne reception, a live auction, and the prestigious Women of Distinction awards ceremony.
This year’s event welcomed acclaimed actress, director, and producer Salli Richardson Whitfield, known for her notable performances in “I Am Legend,” “Eureka,” “Queen Sugar,” and “Luke Cage,” as one of the esteemed guest speakers. Joining her was Alfre Woodard, an Oscar-nominated and multiple Emmy-winning actress and activist, recognized for her roles in “Clemency,” “Cross Creek,” “LA Law,” and “Hill Street Blues.”
The Women of Distinction awards ceremony shone a spotlight on exceptional trailblazers who have left an indelible mark in their respective fields. California State Controller Malia Cohen was honored with the Trailblazer Award for her outstanding contributions. Additionally, entrepreneurs Kerri Harper-Howie and Nicole Harper-Rawlins, fondly known as the “Harper sisters,” received the Empowerment Award in recognition of their achievements as owners of 18 McDonald’s franchises in the Los Angeles area.
Setting the stage for an unforgettable experience, the event featured award-winning KCBS-TV2 anchor Pat Harvey as the mistress of ceremonies, effortlessly guiding the audience through the day’s proceedings. Adding an extra touch of charm was the charismatic Donnell Turner from ABC’s “General Hospital,” who took on the role of the celebrity auctioneer, elevating the excitement during the live auction.
The Women of Distinction awards have a rich history of honoring exceptional women who have left an indelible impact. Past honorees include celebrated actresses Jenifer Lewis, Loretta Devine, Holly Robinson Peete, Tisha Campbell, Niecy Nash, Angela Bassett, and distinguished figures such as Senator Barbara Boxer and Vice President Kamala Harris.
This year’s event featuring swag bags filled with fabulous goodies and a live silent auction offering incredible items such as sold-out concert tickets for Grammy winners Janet Jackson and Ludacris at the Hollywood Bowl, a week-long summer vacation stay in Martha’s Vineyard, and tickets to see Grammy winner Usher in concert, among many other enticing options.
Proceeds from A Pink Pump Affair will play a crucial role in helping SNN achieve its vision with the opening of the landmark Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (C.A.D.D.). Located on the campus of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in the Watts/Willowbrook community of South Los Angeles, C.A.D.D. will serve as a centralized hub where all programs and services can converge under one roof, amplifying the impact of SNN’s work in the South Los Angeles community.
As the event concluded, guests departed with hearts full of inspiration and a renewed dedication to supporting the ongoing efforts of Special Needs Network. With each step forward, SNN continues to pave the way for a more inclusive society, where individuals with disabilities are embraced, celebrated, and empowered to reach their full potential.
Founder of SNN, Areva Martin, emphasized the importance of community support, stating, “A Pink Pump Affair is more than just a gala. It’s an opportunity for our community to come together and support our most vulnerable children and families. We’ve been serving the Los Angeles area for 15 years, and we’re just getting started!”