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On Monday, March 18th, I was invited to attend the Shared Interest 19th Annual Awards Gala with Harry Belafonte, South African Pop Band Freshlyground and Father Michael Lapsley, honored for their commitment to social justice and work towards economic democracy. J.P. Morgan received the Corporate Award of the evening.

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Shared Interest is a New York-based nonprofit social investment fund working in Southern Africa. Shared Interest works towards mobilizing the resources for Southern Africa’s economically disenfranchised communities to sustain themselves.

The evening was magical with inspirational speeches and people that we only can have admiration for. It was an honor to meet people who have dedicated their lives to fight for justice and equality for all both socially, legally and economically. I was especially moved by the speech of Father Michael Lapsley when he said the beautiful words “To bring healing to the human family”. What those words stood for was nothing less than what all nonprofit work towards.

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The stages were taken by several distinguished U.S. and African leaders such as Suzan Johnson Cook, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, a friend of President Barak Obama and his wife Michele Obama. Harry Belafonte, a singer, actor an honoree for the evening. Freshlyground was also honored for their commitment to social justice. Freshlyground is South Africa’s most popular band whose tunes are nothing less than heartfelt and inspiring, who played a couple of songs at the gala dinner and continued their concert at the afterparty.

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The evening was held at Gotham Hall, a beautiful space and appropriate for the evening since it was once a bank and now it got used to celebrate with an organization that works towards social investment. The dinner part of the even was tasty and fun. The speeches were inspiring and we guests got to play along when we had to find out who was the lucky winner of the beaded art works on the table.

The most beautiful part of the night was when every single guest stood up to honor the greatest speeches of the evening by Father Michael Lapsley and Harry Belafonte.

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– Line B.

Photos by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Shared Interest and by Socially Superlative