Actor/director community activist Edward James Olmos has signed on as Celebrity Co-Chair for The Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science Oscar Night America Charity Gala to be held on Oscar night, February 24th at the historic Union Station in downtown L.A.
Olmos, himself is also an Oscar nominated actor, having received a nomination for best actor for his role as Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver.
Monies raised will benefit CDU's HIV/AIDS Research and Community Outreach Programs in the South L.A. communities.
Olmos, is no stranger to causes that benefit these Southland communities, having garnered international recognition when he personally went into South Central L.A. after the Rodney King riots of 1992 to help begin the much needed healing process. This time around Olmos is hoping his involvement will again cause people to recognize the growing crisis of HIV/AIDS within the Latino & African-American communities.
Charles Drew University was selected as the Academy's Los Angeles non-profit organization to benefit from Oscar Night America because of its outstanding HIV/AIDS response activities which include groundbreaking research, clinical services and treatment, education, in-home nursing, six University bloodmobiles that provide free HIV antibody and immune assessment screenings, counseling and referral services. The University's HIV/AIDS services also extend far beyond South Los Angeles-into some of the poorest regions of the globe-providing clinical and technical services in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America and Mexico.
"Oscar Night America parties give communities across the country the opportunity to both share in the excitement of Oscar Night?« and support worthy causes," said Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis. "And it's terrific that a worldwide television event can help benefit so many charities on a local level."
"We are honored to have this opportunity to raise awareness about our HIV/AIDS research and programs. Already, these programs have saved thousands of lives in South Los Angeles and around the globe," said Dr. Susan Kelly, Charles Drew University President and CEO. "The University has a proud tradition of responding in an effective and sustained way to the HIV/AIDS crisis, dating back to the earliest years of the epidemic."
"For us, it is a remarkable opportunity to close the 11-mile gap that separates South Los Angeles and Hollywood," said Elizabeth Garcia, CDU Executive Vice President for Operations and event chairperson. "With the Academy Awards focusing so much on HIV/AIDS issues globally, it is timely and important that the Academy is shining the spotlight on its own back yard."
"The 2007 ONA party was a beautiful and worthy event, and one, we are proud to sponsor it once again," said Diane G. Medina, V.P., Diversity and Community Relations, KABC-TV, and the event's premier media sponsor.
Elia Esparza is the Director of Communications for the The Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science, nonprofit, nonsectarian, minority-serving medical and health science institution in South Los Angeles.