tv The 15th Annual CNN Heroes All- Star Tribute CNN December 12, 2021 5:00pm-7:00pm PST
the 15th annual cnn heroes all-star tribute hosted by anderson cooper and kelly ripa starts now. sorry, cnn news junkies, my cynical siblings and ironic in-laws, not tonight. this is that time of year where we show you in a futile gesture of desperation and optimism that we really are a wonderful world. so tonight it's about feeling good. yeah, puppies and kittens, rainbows and sunshine. those hope-filled tingles in
your toes, those teeming tears that come from this amazing and near extinct thing called joy. it's time to show you the best of humanity. so buckle up. we've got a lot of happiness to show you for the next two hours, and after that, probably a documentary about the opioid crisis or global warming. which one are we doing? opioids or global warming? opioids, yes! i won 50 bucks. but for now, this is "cnn heroes." >> from the american museum of natural history in new york city, this is the 15th annual "cnn heroes all-star tribute." 15 years of celebrating everyday people determined to make a difference in this world. please welcome your host s for the evening, anderson cooper and kelly ripa.
>> thanks so much. welcome to the 15th annual "cnn heroes all-star tribute." we are coming to you live from the milstein hall of ocean life. welcome to our viewers watching around the world. >> happy 15th anniversary, cnn heroes. [ applause ] >> our show is a full-blown teenager. since 2007, we have received more than 100,000 viewer nominations. we've profiled more than 350 heroes who have helped more than 55 million people from all 50 states and 110 countries. cnn heroes have inspired millions of people to volunteer in their communities, which is a true test ament to the beauty ad tenacity of the human spirit. volunteers combing through the
rubble and searching for missing loved ones after tornadoes brought so much destruction and devastation to six states. >> urgent aid is needed for thousands of families. so you can go to cnn.com/impact to find ways that you can help. thank you so much. and thank you to everyone in the audience for being vaccinated and for even wearing masks when you're not eating or drinking. even the whale here is vaccinated. i don't know if you can see that. >> it's got a big band-aid on it. >> tonight the heroes are focused and generous. cnn has given each of our top ten heroes a global platform to share their work and $10,000 to help their work. later tonight, one of the honorees will be named the 2021 cnn hero of the year, and they'll receive an additional $100,000. >> wow. we are so grateful to all of the artists and entertainers who are
here, who are giving their time to help us honor all of their work. and for those of you watching, let us know what you think by tweeting using the hashtag #cnnheroes. you might see your tweet on the screen later on. >> according to the u.s. department of housing and urban development, the number of people experiencing homeless surged to 600,000 in 2020. on skid row, more than 4,600 people live in shelters and on the street. >> here to share our first hero's unforgettable work is the e emmy-winning actor and star of clause, please welcome niecy nash. >> the world is a tough place. always has been.
ernest hemingway wrote, the world breaks everyone, and after many are strong at the broken places. shirley raines is strong at her broken places. in 1990, she left her young son demetrius in the care of her grandmother. he found a bottle of prescription drugs, swallowed them, and a few days later, he died just shy of his third birthday. soon after, shirley lost her grandmother and demetrius' father to cancer. she was broken, on the brink of homelessness and thought about ending her life. then in 2017, she was asked to lend a hand at skid row. the moment that shirley stepped on that block, she found purpose for her pain. shirley started beauty 2 the streetz to provide food, clothes, sanitation products, hair, and makeup services, and
every saturday she goes to where most of us fear to tread. she gives people a hug, a haircut, and maybe even a glorious red dye job. that's right. you can clap for that. [ applause ] with each act, she pulls those fellow broken people close so they know that no matter how tough life gets, they are loved. ♪ >> the world looked at me and thought probably the same thing they think about the homeless people when they pass them by. nobody really knew what i'd been through, what i was going through. i think after my son died, i had no control over a lot of things, but i can control how long my eyelashes were. i can control the color of my hair. >> my wonder woman powers right
here. >> make believe you're normal, shirley. make believe you're not falling apart on the inside, shirley, you know? then one day someone was like, you want to go to church? i haven't been there in forever. someone was like, hey, you want to go feed the homeless with us. i went to skid row. i'm like, this is where all the broken people are? i've been looking for y'all all my life. i am broken just like them. that's makeup. that's hair. yes, i have a lot of wigs. i'll save you one, queen. they started calling me the makeup lady. i never wanted to leave. i love 'em because i am them. >> good to see y'all. happy saturday. >> i dress them as kings and queens because not all queens live in castles. i've met a lot of kings and queens on the street. >> what you want? haircut? okay. >> i was just on the verge of saying, you know what? i'm done. i give up.
and a quick little hello and hug let me know there's hope and people care. it is just being seen, being touched, being cared for. >> you want a face mask? >> yes. >> it plants a little bit of self-esteem in them so they feel like, okay, maybe no one knows i'm homeless because i have a fresh cut. >> i have pride. i have motivation. i'm just unfortunate to not be able to afford rent. >> have a blessed day, queen. >> i'm not an angel, you know. i want my son back. he is the reason i do what i do. so when they say they're broken, i am too. they're like, how did you get fixed? i'm not. i take prozac, 20 milligrams every day. what the heck? i ain't fixed, child. i ain't fixed at all. >> come on, you guys. i need some energy.
energy, people, energy. >> i'm not going to lie and tell you things will be better now, but what i am going to do is feed you while you're out here. what i am going to do is do your hair. i'm going to encourage you and speak life into you. that's what i can do. >> that was mickey on the mic, you guys. give her a hand. give her a hand. [ applause ] >> i don't know -- i don't know about anyone else in this room, but i just fell in love with you, shirley girl. it is my honor to present the cnn hero, shirley raines. [ cheers and applause ] >> congratulations.
>> thank you guys so very much. thank you so very much. homelessness is a solitary experience. but with the support of our incredible social media family, we've credated a community through the shared human experience of trying to find beauty in hardship. this mission started with me coloring hair, but my volunteers, my amazing team, the fighters for the world and my lawyer, dana cisneros, helped expand our work. and what we've been able to do has truly colored my life. i'd like to thank the community of skid row for allowing us to share their stories with the world. we see you. we love you. this is for you, skid row. thank you. ♪
>> i love her so much. >> tonight, not only are we celebrating our top ten heroes, but we'll also be honoring two young people who show us that age is never a factor when it comes to making the world a better place. we call them young wonders. >> our first young wonder is your knight in shining armor, especially if you're ever attempted a video chat with your parents or your grandparents and you spend the entire time looking at their ear or the ceiling. yeah, everyone, all of us. here to introduce us to his work is a champion for son of a saint, a mentoring program for fatherless boys in new orleans. the academy award-winning and multiple grammy-nominated artist, most recently for the album "we are," here's sean battiste.
♪ >> whoo! yes. you know, we all have a granny or a pop-pop, or a bubbe, or a mama, papa. you know, we got these names. they're the best at sending us soulful birthday cards, coming to graduations or cheering us on at our big school musicals. but if you ask that same grandparent to venmo you some birthday cash or video chat with the kids after school, they're going to look at the thing. they freeze up. what you want me to do with this, son? fearful of the unknown. but jordan mitler, he won't have it. no, no, no. he loves his grandparents and all of ours. five years ago, he started mitler senior technology to
teach them how to use smartphones, attend virtual meetings, and how to spot scams. it's a whole lot of 'em. they've offered more than 200 classes all taught by him and his team of teen volunteers. thanks to jordan, our grannies, pop-pops, bubbes, and all the rest can stay close and do what they do best -- smother us with love. >> how are you? >> my grandparents, they both have flip phones, and i kind of figured that it was now time to bring them into this world of smartphones. >> so go ahead and click on the magnifier. click on the little circle. >> i have to be honest. it wasn't the easiest, but i got them from stage one to a decent knowledge of technology. >> i have to tell you, now i won't need that cataract operation. >> i kind of realized there must be a larger audience of seniors.
you don't always have a computer with you. i put together the ten-lesson curriculum that covered what i kind of guessed to be the most crucial topics for a senior to know in the 21st century. >> hi, jordan. hi, team. >> hi, everyone. >> the pandemic took a big hit on the senior population. i couldn't just say, i'll see you guys when this is all over. i hosted my first zoom class. >> guys, how would you add a third person to that call? >> scroll up. >> i decided to push out topics that i felt were absolutely crucial to know during the pandemic. so facetime and online shopping became more important. >> add to cart. >> add to cart. >> the act of a teen educating seniors makes the experience so much different. today we have educated over 2,000 seniors from ten different countries. ♪ >> that was outstanding. >> that was fun.
>> the senior technology class and jordan opened up an entirely new world to me personally. >> good to see you. >> i can contact relatives all over the globe. >> glory, love you. rose. >> love you. >> i have instagram. >> that's so nice. >> facebook. oh, i'm having so much fun with it. it has absolutely changed my life. >> i really think it's the responsibility of every single teen to help them adapt to this whole new world of technology. take five minutes. pick up the phone and call one of your grandparents. for you, it's like a quick thing. but for them, that changes their life. >> thank you. >> bye, team. >> so great. >> jordan, it really is fabulous what you're doing. i have a question for you. are all parents reachable, would you say? >> i think so. even if your grandparents are
not experts -- many of them are not. send them a message. you could find them in person. there are many ways to contact. >> you must have the patience of a saint. >> i did not start out like that. it still took them time to get used to, but i think it's something you develop. >> well, congratulations. it's amazing what you're doing. >> well deserved. >> thank you so much. >> to learn more about jordan's story and all our young wonders, please go to cnnheroes.com, and don't forget to tell us what you think about jordan's work and our heroes by using the hashtag #cnnheroes. >> thanks, jordan. >> coming up, rachel brosnahan, christopher meloni, rachel zeigler, josh groban, aloe blacc and more. the 15th annual "cnn heroes all-star tribute" is proudly sponsored by subaru. more than a car company. meals to feeding america.
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♪ welcome back. we're here at cnn heroes throughout the night. as you meet our top ten honorees, you can donate to any of them by going to cnnheroes.com and clicking on the donate button, or you can scan the qr code on your screen right now. and if you don't know what a qr code is, please enroll in one of jordan mittler's classes fast. very good. very helpful. now my parents are like, what's a qr code? there are so many ways to give, and we're so grateful that gofundme is working with all of our heroes. >> so our next hero has found a
simple and ingenious way to clean up more than 8 million tons of plastic that pollute our oceans and waterways while at the same time ensuring that thousands of people are fed during the pandemic. to share his story is the emmy-winning store of the marvelous mrs. maisel" and a champion for covenant house. please welcome rachel brosnahan. >> in 2020, the pandemic started its lethal spread across the world and arrived in bali, indonesia. made janur yasa closed the doors to his restaurant, and the rest of the city shuttered, and he worried. the jobless were now going hungry. the livelihoods that brought those to the island were devastated. the plastics were piling up, and the farmers were overwhelmed with countless pounds of unsold
rice. each one of these new realities were cause for despair, but janur found possibility. he thought, what if? what if families can collect plastic, bring it in, and exchange it for rice? so in may of 2020, he launched plastic exchange, which is now in 200 villages, collecting nearly 300 tons of plastic. janur's work shows us that even in the darkest of times, there is always the possibility to work together to heal our one and only home. >> we have wisdom in bali, which is three ways to achieve happiness. number one is the harmonious connection human to god. secondly, human to human. and the last one is connection human to the environment. so that's how we reach the happiness.
this really break my heart when i see this plastic everywhere. we don't have the habit yet on how to handle the plastic after we use it. i always like this phrase. inside of the challenge, there is an opportunity. what i'm aiming for is to educate people through action. so the community collect and separate their plastic from their house, and then they go to the rice paddy, the beach, to the river, and then there is pla plastic exchase set up in that community. picking up plastic is cool thing to do. and people have fun with it, and people not feeling embarrassed about it. and now almost picking up plastic is sexy.
in a plastic exchange, people just get into it. the vibe is so high. it's so vibrant. you can feel it. old people, younger people. in many villages that we have this plastic exchange going for one year now, it's almost hard to find plastic in environments because now they really dispose plastic properly. and look at how clean the gutter, free of plastic. the most important thing is this has become the habit, and really that always bring tears to my eyes. i want to make this island clean. i want to make the people in here prosper. i see the smile in their face. i see they can provide for their family, and we can do this in
every community. my goal is to really spread this movement from island to island to asia and to the whole world. >> please join me in honoring cnn hero made janur yasa. ♪ >> wow. i swam from bali to here. so this word give recognition to the core value that underpin the plastic exchange. dignity, prosperity,
environment. our deepest gratitude goes out to balinese community, villagers, event organizer, volunteers, donors, and all of you over here. thank you. in bali, we call it suksuma. ♪ >> why don't we all live in bali? it looks nice. in 2018, the university of michigan issued a report on formerly incarcerated individuals, and it found that 80% earned less than $15,000 in their first year out of prison, and nearly half of federal inmates re-offended after being released. >> our next hero used his own experience to help other formerly incarcerated men and women rebuild their lives. his program is so successful,
less than 1% have re-offended. here to tell his story is the star of "law & order: organized crime," christopher meloni. ♪ >> good evening. we are not our worst mistakes. let me say that again. we are not our worst mistakes. we all make 'em because we're all human. hector guadalupe is no different. he lost both parents by the time he was 15. at 23, he was sentenced to ten years to life for distributing cocaine. when he spent 31 months in solitary confinement surrounded by darkness and cement walls, he decided to rebuild his life. he got fit in mind and body, found focus in the prison gym,
and became a certified trainer. when he was released, he pounded new york city's pavement for nearly a year until he got a job at a gym. when he met other newly released inmates who were struggling, he supported them to become trainers, and he launched a second u foundation. now, since 2017, he's provided more than 200 graduates with a path to a successful career, showing themselves and the world that they are the walking, breathing, hope and promise of a transformed life on the march. ♪ >> when i got out of prison, i'm literally at every corporate health club trying to get a job, and nobody was calling me back. and i knew why. but i didn't give up. >> come on, come on, come on. stay strong. >> eight, nine months later, i then got a job.
and that was, like, everything to me. i felt like i was part of society, which is something that we all should have an opportunity to do, right? i started doing time shortly after my mother passed away when i was like 15. by the time i came home, i gave the system half my life. the people that are home, like, taking care of their family, making a living, those are the people that i wanted to try to be like. you have to give yourself a chance at this. at a second u foundation, we want to give you your second chance at life. you can't be scared to fail. so these men and women are taught everything you could think on bone structure and kinesiology. >> blood flowing to the heart. you're talking about coronary circulation. >> it's like learning a new language. >> i knew how to work out, but i didn't know the science behind everything. >> how many ways can you manipulate an exercise? >> the program was intense.
>> there you go. you got it. >> after i graduated the program, he got me hired at an elite gym, and i did my thing. >> they start at $35 an hour. they top out at $80 an hour. full corporate benefits. that goes a long way. >> bend that back knee some. a little lower. >> i used everything he taught me, and since the pandemic, i have my own fitness company. i owe a lot to hector. he pretty much held my hand without holding my hand. >> nice to meet you. >> hector's whole approach with us is to maximize our potential, that you're not what you got convicted of. that's not you. >> when you provide people with livable wages, they're able to be productive members of society. that's what we're here for, to support each other in that journey. you can only imagine how many kids are going to be fed and
taken care of now without a worry. that's why second chances are important. [ cheers and applause ] >> please join me in honoring cnn hero hector guadalupe. [ cheers and applause ] >> first i got to say, brooklyn, we did it. we're here. but as i accept this award tonight, i am truly still faced with the reality of being denied opportunities because of the mistakes i've made in my past. but i was lucky that i was given a second chance. most aren't. most haven't even received their first chance.
so join us. join our community and help us fight mass incarceration while uplifting returning citizens through education, career placement, and entrepreneurship. let's do this work together because everyone has and deserves a second chance. thank you so much. ♪ >> up next on "cnn heroes" "west side story's" rachel zeigler. and we'll honor a hero who will help you fall in love with seals. the 15th annual cnn heroes all-star tribute is proudly sponsored by novartis. i'm still clear, five years now. cosentyx works fast to give you clear skin that can last. real people with psoriasis look and feel better with cosentyx. don't use if you're allergic to cosentyx. before starting, get checked for tuberculosis.
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i'm the co-owner of monkey's dog house. i rescue sloths, anteaters from difficult situations in urbanized areas. >> this is basically a dream come true for me. >> this rescue is the largest equine rescue in the world. >> currently we have 44 sand deers that live in our center. >> we are a nonprofit that provides service dogs to veterans, first responders, kids. >> we've really created a movement to really let people know how worthy senior dogs are, and they're getting adopted. [ applause ] welcome back to cnn heroes. the state of maine has more than 2,500 miles of coastline. it is home to one of our most beloved marine mammals, the puppy dogs of the sea, seals. >> seals. >> i did not know they were
called the puppy dogs of the sea. >> well, you're the only one. >> apparently so. their greatest threat, however, is us. our fishing lines, boat propellers, and all the selfies that people take with seal pups, which actually cause the mothers to then abandon them sometimes. >> look, i get it. i get it. it's hard to stay away when they're that cute. that is adorable. >> but as cute as they are, we all need to leave them alone. >> and if they're injured, call the professionals for help, like our next hero. here to tell us her story is a supporter of the international rescue committee and one of the stars of the upcoming movie downton abbey, a new era," and the new law & order, hugh dancy. >> if we're lucky sometimes, we just know what we're supposed to do with our lives.
li lynda doughty is one of those lucky soles. she was always drawn to the sea, the dolphins, the seals. she knew she wanted to spend her life protecting it. she became a marine biologist and worked in a number of organizations caring for animals in trouble. and after many closed or lost funding, she formed her own -- marine mammals of maine. she created a 24-hour hotline for the public to report injured animals, and she and her team have received thousands of calls, mostly for seals, who receive around-the-clock care at her state-of-the-art facility. and when they're healthy, she returns them home, home where they can do what they've been put on this earth to do, keep our oceans beautiful, magical, and strong. ♪ >> what i love about seals is they really look similar to
dogs, and they're also really charismatic. it's really neat to see them in their natural environment, and they're very curious in general. good morning, miss 264. >> we have animals that may have an injury. pup abandonment, malnourishment. the biggest threat to these animals is human impacts. >> so he's on fluid therapy for today to try to break up some of the pneumonia that he has. >> she's not ready for release yet. she came in with really heavy respiratory case. i couldn't even hear air passing through her lungs at all. now a few months later, she's eating really well. she's gained a lot of weight, and she's doing so much better.
taking on caring for these animals, it's really 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. >> two pounds of fish coming for you. oh, you were ready. >> you're always thinking how best to do right by these animals and what can i do better? >> all done. what are you looking at? >> and even when i'm not at the center, i'm always thinking, is this animal fine? do we need to go back? >> you guys ready for today? you guys know that you're going back to the ocean? >> so any seal that we rescue, the ultimate goal is for that animal to be released back into the ocean. the majority of our time is spent teaching these animals what they should be doing in the wild, and we release them. we're hoping that we prepared them exactly for that. >> oh, you're so adorable. >> five, four, three, two, one!
>> the now 20 years i've been doing this, which seems like i just started yesterday, and the feeling has not changed for me. i love it now more than ever. >> yay! >> i feel this intense responsibility to help these animals, and really this is what i was put on this earth to do. [ applause ] >> please join me in honoring cnn hero lynda doughty. >> so exciting. thank you.
marine mammals of maine was created to be a voice for these animals that cannot ask for help themselves. i want to thank cnn and bring awareness to the ones who are sick, injured, and abandoned. many people are unaware of the dangers they face not only in the main but around the world. they are vital sentinels of our ocean health, and with your help, we will be able to continue to speak loudly not only locally but globally through response, care, education, and research. i want to thank you for your support and your kindness. thank you. [ applause ] >> colombia is a remarkable country, but for more than 50 years, it's been consumed with conflict and violence. the fighting has made the country with one of the largest numbers of internally displaced people in the world. it's pushed many indigenous
people and small farmers into rural areas and extreme poverty for generations. >> to share our next hero's work is a champion for no kid hungry and one of the stars of the new adaptation of "west side story." please welcome rachel zegler. ♪ >> thank you. sometimes we have to go thousands of miles from home in order to find our life's calling. jenifer colpas graduated from college in colombia and landed a great job in the tech industry in india. while there, she encountered extreme poverty everywhere. it made her think of all the people back home in the rural areas who lacked the basics -- clean water, power, and sanitation. and so she returned home and later co-founded tierra grata, which means gratitude to the earth. by truck, by donkey, and by
foot, she and her young team traveled to villages to connect solar panels, install water filtration systems, and build safe toilets and showers. so far, jenifer has reached 43 communities, helping more than 10,000 people feel connected to the world, lifting people out of extreme poverty with ingenuity, kindness, and grace. ♪ [ speaking foreign language ] >> these areas are so remote, that there is no even roads to get there. nobody goes there, but we are going there to provide them the essentials -- clean energy, safe water, and sanitation.
tierra grata means gratitude to the earth. the families use candles, gasoline lamps. they were spending a lot of money, and the smoke of the lamps were negatively affecting their health. so we put solar panels on their homes. the water filter program, it is the micro filtration process that take out viruses and all elements that can make people sick. so they can cook and they can drink safe water. the eco-toilets, they are made by recyclable plastic. with our eco-toilet, you don't need to flush with water. every time you poop, you are going to add sawdust. we also provide a shower with
like a complete hygiene solution. a very important part are our guardians. they are our partners within the community. we are working with women because for us, it's very important to empower them and to re-signify their role in the community. so they will be not just workers but also problem solvers. my biggest dream is that they can wake up not just to survive, but they can make a step further and start fulfilling their dreams. [ applause ] >> it is my honor to present cnn
hero jenifer colpas. [ cheers and applause ] >> that's not living. it is surviving. the families we work with, they are suffering, but their power to go ahead inspired me to take action. no matter what problems they face, they never give up. they are resilient. i invite to join the mission of tierra grata. let's continue to bring dignity, well-being, and opportunities to every single rural family in latin america. i know and i'm sure we can do this together. gracias. [ cheers and applause ]
>> for the men and women who protect and serve the capitol, january 6th likely began as any other day. they put on their uniforms, took their kids to school, kissed their loved ones good-bye. it was supposed to be a quiet ceremonial day certifying the 2020 election. but there were those who had other plans. those who led a rally fueled with misinformation and lies that the election had been stolen. and those in the crowd who heard those words and then marched down pennsylvania avenue, emboldened with weapons, anger, and a determination to halt the business of the nation. they stormed the capitol and did the unthinkable, using tasers, chemical sprays, pipes, baseball bats, flagpoles, anything they could get their hands on. they attacked the police they claimed they supported. the insurrectionist flooded inside, desecrating symbols of
our democracy while capitol officers heroically guided our elected leaders, their staffers, and many others to safety. for four hours, officers at the west terrace doors held their position and likely prevented thousands more from entering and doing harm. because of what they did during those hours, we'll never again take for granted the peaceful transfer of power. january 6th will live on in history as a testament to the strength of our republic thanks to the courage, resilience, and valor displayed by the extraordinary women and men who honored their oath to protect and serve. [ applause ] >> five people died in the attack on the capitol, and in the days that followed. hundreds were injured, and four officers have since died by suicide. for those who stood their ground for this nation and have sacrificed so much, we humbly thank you.
>> please join us in honoring all the officers who defended democracy on january 6th, and please welcome to the stage four of these heroes, ari dunn, officer michael fanone, sergeant aquilino -- and officer daniel hodges. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> coming up, josh groban salutes a young wonder. the 15th annual cnn heroes all
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- san francisco can have criminal justice reform and public safety. but district attorney chesa boudin is failing on both. - the safety of san francisco is dependent upon chesa being recalled as soon as possible. - i didn't support the newsom recall but this is different. - chesa takes a very radical perspective and approach to criminal justice reform, which is having a negative impact on communities of color. - i never in a million years thought that my son, let alone any six-year-old, would be gunned down in the streets of san francisco and not get any justice. - chesa's failure has resulted in increase in crime against asian americans. - the da's office is in complete turmoil at this point. - for chesa boudin to intervene in so many cases is both bad management and dangerous for the city of san francisco. - we are for criminal justice reform. chesa's not it. recall chesa boudin now.
♪ welcome back to cnn heroes. as kelly will attest -- and she tells me -- i'm not great at expressing feelings. >> that's not true. you just smiled just now. >> just like a human being. >> yeah. have you ever tried expressing your feelings through art? >> i'm not very good at that either. >> that's not true. maybe you should try it. try a little art class once in a while. art is powerful. okay. >> so they tell me. >> ask our next young wonder. to tell us all about her wonderful work is the multi-grammy nominee and founder
of found your light foundation, dedicated to ensuring every child can experience a quality arts education, is none other than josh groban. [ applause ] >> our kids are in crisis. just at the time that our kids need art to help them express their difficult feelings in a positive way, those classes are being cut left and right. chelsea fair is on a mission to change this. she knows how art can heal one's heart. when she was younger, she lost her grandfather. to deal with the grief, she did what she knew how to do to express her love. she drew him a picture. she drew it and she folded it up. she put it in his pocket when she said good-bye at his service. when she learned that so many kids didn't have the tools to do the same, she started chelsea's
charity. she wants young people to be able to create, to create something beautiful, to ease the crisis of our times and to find a way to process their pain and reconnect to their hopes and joys. >> when i start painting or drawing, i feel really tranquil. >> she experienced loss of loved ones and rough bullying moments. those were times where she learned art could help her overcome some of the sadness she was experiencing. >> i was like, well, this helped me. maybe it could help other people. it's supposed to be 200 in there. >> okay. >> it's art kits to children in homeless shelters, hospitals, schools, gifts to veterans. some people who might need a little extra art in their lives. every kid is different.
we have crayons, markers and paint. my name is chelsea. i have awesome art kits for you guys. my favorite thing that i get to do is do live distributions. i really get to interact with the kids. it's very cool. chelsea's charity has distributed over 20,000 art kits. before we start, i want to state one thing. art is your own. it depends on what you want to see and how you want to see it. it's fun watching the kids learn how to create their own drawings and learn how to make their art unique. >> she wants to spread so much love and to see it received so well, it warms my heart. >> it's colorful. >> i love art because i can share with people. >> i love art because it makes
me happy. >> i give them the freedom of expression. they can express themselves in whatever way want they want to positively. all kids should know it doesn't matter what age you are, everyone can make a difference. [ applause ] >> i'm here with chelsea. you are magic, period. here is my question. i understand that you experienced some bullying at school. you immediately wanted to buy your bullies some art supplies. can you tell me why that is? >> well, it went against my better judgment. but i had grown up in a christian environment. going to the church, i was taught to love my neighbors. everyone does deserve a second chance, which has been mentioned several times today. i realize my bully was going
through a lot of stuff afterwards. i was like, jeez. i decided to give them an art kit. yeah, i guess that was pretty much it. i actually became friends with my bully afterwards. they were like, okay, i'm sorry i did that. now we are friends in school. it's a lot of fun now. >> you are an exceptional young woman. that's why you are a young wonder. going places. [ applause ] . l look at that. to learn more about her story and our young wonders, go to cnnheroes.com. thank you. >> thank you. ♪ >> over the years, no organization has been a greater supporter of our efforts than subaro which has sponsored --
it's true. they have generously sponsored cn this heroes since 2008. welcome the president and chief executive officer for subaru of america. [ applause ] >> happy holidays. dr. jane goodall said, what you do makes a difference. you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. like our heroes here tonight, she was trying to make a difference through our share the love event. by the end of this year, subaru and our retailers will have given over $225 million to support both national and local charities all around the country. [ applause ] thank you. tonight, we are here to not only honor our heroes but to make them continue to make a difference in the lives of others. that, my dear friends, takes money.
please, make a difference and join subaru in donating to our heroes. if you do, subaru will match your donations up to a total of $500,000. we know firsthand that making a difference creates kindness and kindness creates love. please, help us share the love by contributing to our celebrated heroes here tonight. make a difference by donating right now at cnnheroes.com. thank you very much. [ applause ] no one signs up to be poor. no one wants to be born into poverty. >> it's different when you are a single parent. it may look easy because we have to put on this brave face every day and say we are superwoman. but it's extremely difficult. my son, he comes first before everything. you don't expect your life to change overnight. you have to have the will power and determination to want it to change.
>> it supports women and children who live in extreme poverty here at southeast michigan but also around the world. >> people are extreme ly vulnerable. it gave us a sense of financial security from which we could build. subaru, they really care about the family. when you have a single mom, if that mom falls two, three, four other people are falling right behind her. >> i was having a very hard time finding work. during the pandemic. i'm a mother of two. they have been through a lot with me. >> rising hope bakery is where we are taking clients getting trained in the vocational training and culinary arts. >> i am a complete graduate student from the culinary program. i do plan to open my own restaurant eventually. i'm really appreciative.
that one phone call changed everything. >> i kept thinking about, what happens if we can train and then employ? what would happen to that family if we could hire them at a living wage? not only do you break the cycle of poverty, but you actually break the cycle of inter-generational poverty. >> it feels wonderful to be the first employee. i feel like i'm part of something big. that's so rewarding. [ applause ] >> welcome back to cnn heroes. you know that subaru is matching your donations to all of our top ten cnn heroes. go to cnnheroes.com. click on donation or scan the qr code on the screen. do it now.
please support our incredible honorees. >> since covid hit, the virus has affected communities of color, tackling a long history of medical abuse, neglect, institutional racism by building trust, our next hero has helped the city of philippfof philly a of the highest vaccinations rates for people of color. >> joining us to tell her extraordinary story is the director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases, and the chief medical advisor to the president, dr. anthony fauci. [ applause ] >> 40 years ago in a poor part of philly, a young girl had a mighty dream. ala stanford would stand in front of a mirror and pretend the extension cord was a stethoscope and the bed sheet draped on her shoulders was a medical coat. she would say, hi, my name is dr. ala stanford. how are you today? inn spite of many odds, her
teenage parents tout her the world can't didn't exist. she became a top pediatric surgeon. when covid-19 started killing people in the black community, she refused to let those poor parts of philly down. she started the black doctors covid-19 consortium to test and eventually vaccinate people. they have tested and vaccinated more than 75,000 people. the trust she built is why it all worked. even when she herself got covid, she never stopped listening and leading, because she always carries the community with her. she knows what her work and presence mean to the younger girls and boys standing in front of their mirrors. you can be a doctor caring for patients, saving lives and bringing dignity and decency to all in the middle of a horrific pandemic. >> these are extraordinary times. a national emergency.
>> 96% of people are now under stay at home orders. >> if anyone believes it's not going to get worse, you are simply mistaken. >> after the pandemic started, african-americans were dying at a rate greater than any other group in philly. they were keeping the city and country running, but wherever black people were, the one thing that was tough to come by was testing. those who are most vulnerable, they need to have the support. i jumped in. i got all the ppe from my office. i got testing kits. my mom rented a van. that was t. we were intentional from the very beginning about the mission. the first day, we did a dozen tests. the second time, we did about 150. the third time, there were 500 people lined up before we started. the positivity rate was one in four. we had to earn the trust of the people. >> i'm going to put my hand on your shoulder.
>> i thought that by july, we would be out of business. there was no end in sight. we are at community centers, to churches, to mosques. street corners. then january, we started vaccinating. i don't want to send any back to the refrigerator. i want people to receive. it was all this narrative, black people don't want the vaccine. they were lined up. this is philly. there's no snow that's going to keep us away. we vaccinated over 4,000 people in a 24-hour period. mom? we started home vaccination. all i have to do is do a shot in your arm. >> okay. >> okay? honestly, the atmosphere when we vaccinate is joy. we have vaccinated more than 50,000 people.
she's smiling. 82%, people of color. >> dr. stanford is doing a great job looking out for the black community. she's looking out for our community. >> when i see people getting vaccinated, i can say, job well done. you earned the trust. i love philly. so i could not allow one additional life to lost when i knew i could do something about it. >> it's my honor to present cnn hero dr. ala stanford. [ applause ]
>> 22 months ago, our organization did not exist. this was not my job. we need a national model with our health care. resources for mass vaccination, testing centers and basic preventative care must be consistent. not just during a public health crisis, but always. we have to bring care to people where they work and live and play. it shows them that we understand and live by the oath of first do no harm. i am committed to equity, to save lives and livelihood and welcome your support in this mission. covid has taught us much. but when one person is healthy,
[ applause ] welcome back to cnn heroes. in the united states, there are nearly 14 million people who have lost their husband, their wife or their partner. they struggle with the grief, the loss of identity and just getting through everyday tasks. >> to tell us about our next hero's organization that works to end their isolation is a wonder woman who experienced the loss of her beloved husband i 37 years robert altman. she's a proud supporter. we will see her in "wonder woman iii." please welcome, linda carter.
[ applause ] >> thank you very much. in 2005, phil hernandez and his 100 watt smile went out for a bike ride on a beautiful california afternoon. it was a sport that he and his wife loved to do. michele happened to be staying home that day. she kissed him good-bye. he rode off. soon after, she received the call. he has been hit by a car. come quick. she traveled in the ambulance with him and was there when they pronounced him dead. she was grief stricken, stunned.
she didn't know what to do about his things, what to do about his car, what do you do, what's normal? she felt alone in the struggle to understand her new life. so michele began reaching out to other widows. in 2008, she started soaring spirits. she offers a connection to the disconnected through widow packets filled with valuable information. and runs three-day weekends called camp widow. organizes support groups, one on one pen pals and with covid-19 ongoing virtual programs. she's brought together a community of more than 4 million. we now know that during these times, how devastating the loss
of a loved one is. she found a community that understands just how difficult it really is to live without the love of your life. >> he was like the glue in our family. if he was around, everything was going to be okay. this is our youngest boy at his wedding. march 24, 2020, my husband walked like a soldier into the hospital. the doctor called me and told me that my husband did have the covid. sometimes i just go sit in the parking lot just to be close to him. because they would not let me in. on april 13th, they told me he was gone. i miss him so badly. grandkids miss their papa.
i can't describe the devastation, the loneliness. i needed someone to understand what it was like to be widowed. >> initially, you imagine the worst day is the day they die. the truth is, that living without them is the hard part. you have to make your way through. my husband phil died on august 31st of 2005. ever single thing about my life changed. thank you for being here and showing up for each other. once i found a community of widowed people and realized the power of it, i felt this calling to be able to offer it to other people. i'm lousy. >> you don't say i'm good, because you are not. >> what we do is offer the opportunity for people to heal in community. to rebuild your own space with people around you who make you
feel like living through widowhood is possible. >> without you, i wouldn't be where i am today. i was able to go back to work. >> when covid hit, they needed someone who would understand on a micro level the things that were difficult and unique about the covid-19 death. >> i don't even want to think about what it would have been like without it. it saved my life. i'm thankful for it. >> i don't even know what phil would think about all of what i have created, except to say that he always believed in me. it has been an incredible experience to build an organization that is in large part because he loved me so well. [ applause ] >> please join me in honoring cnn hero michele neff hernandez.
[ applause ] >> thank you. grief support doesn't feel important until it's personal. we meet survivors where they are and help them make space for their grief in a society uncomfortable with mourning. when widowed people grieve at their own pace, integrate their person's love into their daily lives, and gain the support of a community, they not only survive tragic circumstances, but thrive. the work of soaring spirits shapes real life heroes every single day. we are so proud of all of them. our whole world is grieving.
we have to see it and embrace it in order to heal it. thank you. [ applause ] >> in 2018, dr. larry nasser was sentenced up to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women and girls said he sexually abused them over the past two decades. >> the impact statements before his sentencing lasted seven days as heroic and courageous women stepped forward. that moment wasn't the last in the pursuit of justice. >> the first complaints about dr. nasser were filed at the fbi's field office in indianapolis in july 2015.
those complaints were buried. they sat with the fbi for more than a year allowing at least 70 other women and girls to be abused. on september 15th of this year, four champions raised their right hands to speak truth to power. >> this did not happen to gymnast two or athlete a. it happened to me. >> they shared their stories. they lived it again. detailing the abuse. >> how much is a little girl worth? >> they demanded the fbi be held accountable for their neglect which caused so much pain. they spoke with courage, conviction and were true role models for us all. stating once again that enough is enough. join us in honoring all the gymnasts who shared their stories and pushed for justice. >> we are grateful that one of
them is here with us tonight, maggie nichols. [ applause ] >> still to come, ming ma wen. the 15th annual cnn heroes all star attribute suit proudly sponsored by -- th an agent who suggested a plan that fit my life. you should call too! so i did. turns out an all-in-one humana medicare advantage plan includes coverage for hospital stays, doctor visits and prescription drugs. oooh! most plans include dental, vision and hearing too. you can get all this coverage for as low as a $0 monthly plan premium in many areas. can you believe it? call or go online to learn more. humana a more human way to
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[ applause ] welcome back to cnn heroes. in the united states, one in five children has attention deficit disorder or other le learning problems. many become frustrated. 50% of students with a learning difference wind up in the juvenile justice system. >> some call it a difference or disability. we called our son's dyslexia a blessing, because through the remediation in his school, he is not only become an incredible student but it made all of his other skills that much stronger.
there's no one size fits all to learning. so many of us need extra guidance or different tools to learn. david flink was one of the those students. he acted out. he got kicked out of five schools. when he and his desk were banished to an empty hallway, a janitor took notice. he played chess with david. that simple human connection made all the difference. >> after david received the proper diagnosdiagnosis, he wen ivy league university. there are 150 chapters in s schools in 23 states lifting kids up. through the magic of art, they bond over pipe cleaners and construction paper and embrace differences and see one another eye to eye. >> i remember fondly really
loving school. that feeling ended probably first or second grade. i didn't know that i have dyslexia, adhd. i could be the dumb kid or i could be the bad kid. instead of sitting there and feeling dumb, sti started actin out. they would say, dave, we think it would be best for you and all of us if you went to the hallway to finish that assignment. at one point, my desk was moved to the hallway. i had this message sent to me i didn't belong in a classroom. despite challenges, i made it. i felt like people had invested in me and now i had a responsibility to go give back. every time i walk into ray clascl -- into a classroom, it fills me with joy. you know that about yourself? that's great.
eye to eye provides a safe space that's constructed around what's right with kids so they can talk about their experiences. >> people think about me, i'm dumb. no. i'm just unique. everybody is unique in their own way if you think about it. >> today's project is the belt. we will be thinking of things that help us in the classroom and out of the classroom. >> i click more with the girls that are a little bit reserved and shy. >> do it like this. have the thing like this. >> i like that idea. >> for me, i was ashamed and that led to me being super self-conscious and shy. do you get scared during tests or nervous? >> i have anxiety. i shake a lot. >> that happens to me sometimes. i want them to know just because the accommodations they need, it
shouldn't prevent them from pursuing something they are passionate about. >> i'm not alone. they taught me to always ask if you need help. don't be scared. they're not going to bite you. >> you should hi. >> amazing. >> i'm funny. i always fight through a lot of stuff every day. but i get through it. >> people's hearts sing when they are seen. our mentors are so good at just seeing the kids and sharing their stories selflessly. my moment i'm wishing for is when the problem of stigmatizing kids goes away. want them to know their brains are beautiful and they can do it. [ applause ] >> it's my honor to present cnn hero david flink.
[ applause ] >> wow. to receive this honor at this time is momentous for students with learning disabilities. as you heard, i'm someone who is proudly dyslexic and adhd. whether you are part of the 20% that has an invisible disability or 80% who are our allies, we need 100% of us to rethink our approach to supporting young people with learning disabilities. tonight, we further the fight to combat ablism. cnn, thank you for giving us a platt storm to share the story of what is right with people with learning disabilities. [ applause ]
all brains are beautiful. >> for more than a decade, nigeria has been faced with conflict, primarily because of one of the world's deadliest organizations called boko haram. since the violence between them and the nigerian government, millions have been displaced, tens of thousands murder and schools destroyed. to share our next hero's incredible work is the champion for the black and missing foundation, which focuses on finding missing persons of color and one of the stars of "saturday night live," eggo wodum. [ applause ] >> education promotes peace, especially the kind rooted in
truth where knowledge is shared as a path to better understanding and respect. this is the life's work of zannah mustapha. he grew up with a good education and became a lawyer. he worked hard and wanted to ensure the orphans in his town had the same opportunities to grow and thrive. in 2007, he opened the future prowess islamic foundation school. that first year, there were 36 orphans learning to add and subtract and marvel at the wonders of science. as the fighting between boko haram and the nigerian military escalated, owned his arms wider welcoming all orphans no matter their family's side in the conflict. today, he educates more than 860 orphans. he provides boys and girls uniforms, books, health care and managing acres of farmland to teach skills and feed them. in a region overcome with atrocities, he and his schools are the lamp posts of hope,
>> it is with dear pride and abiding sense of humility that i wish to accept this award. to my nine wonderful co-honorees, i adore your courage. your work towards peace. this love and kindness fill the whole of humanity. finally, i thank the future progress. may god bless and crown your effort. thank you. [ applause ]
>> next, a hero saving women's lives. we will reveal your choice for cnn hero of the year. the 15th annual cnn heroes all star tribute is brought to you by -- financial picture. a plan with tax-smart investing strategies designed to help you keep more of what you earn. this is the planning effect. i suffered with psoriasis for so long. i felt gross. people were afraid i was contagious. i was covered from head to toe. i was afraid to show my skin. after i started cosentyx i wasn't covered anymore. four years clear. five years now. i just look and feel better. see me. real people with psoriasis look and feel better with cosentyx. don't use if you're allergic to cosentyx. before starting, get checked for tuberculosis. an increased risk of infections—some serious—
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>> hi. i want to provide clean water for everyone in the world. >> when he was in first grade, ryan learned that too many people around the world lack access to safe drinking water. many were getting sick and dying. he decided to raise money to build a well in uganda. >> ryan's well, funded by ryan h. >> he started red ryan's well foundation. ten years, he helped build 260 wells in 12 countries, reaching more than 435,000 people. today, the work goes on in ryan's name with more than 1,500 clean water and sanitation projects completed, providing clean water access to more than 1.1 million people. ryan reminds us that one person can truly make a difference and that age is no barrier to changing the world.
[ applause ] ryan is here. he is now 30 years old. executive director of the ryan's well foundation. ryan, thanks so much. [ applause ] >> you really are an inspiration. my goodness. [ applause ] >> i feel old. >> you are such an inspiration to so many of us here. so is our next hero. more than 350,000 women around the world die every year from cervical cancer, which is nearly 100% preventable with screening and early treatment. >> joining us to share how our next hero works to prevent women
from unnecessarily dying from this disease is a champion for holly rod foundation, aspca and make a wish foundation and one of the stars of "the book of boba fet." >> a team of doctors and nurses took a bus to a village. dr. patricia gordon spent 27 years as a radiation oncologist in california. she was on this humanitarian trip to install a new machine. she had researched that there was an epidemic of cervical cancer in the region and brought along a simple kit to screen women just in case there were delays with the machine. there were. as fate would have it, eight women needed immediate care. the equipment she needed to freeze away the pre-cancerous cells was nowhere to be found. undeterred, dr. gordon searched for hours to find a critical
part. then she saved those eight women. soon after, she started cure cervical cancer. dr. gordon trains local health care workers to screen and treat in their communities and provides the necessary equipment all contained in a suitcase. her clinics are in ethiopia, ke kenya, vietnam and haiti. they have saved thousands of lives. all because she felt that impulse to do more and acted on it, with nothing short of her full heart and soul. >> my family is riddled with cancer. my mother, my mother's mother, my mother's sister, my cousin. can you locate the lesions on the cervix? i was drawn to oncology. you are ready to do it. i really wanted to be that person that could help others.
i was shocked when i learned women are dying an undignified, painful, bloody death all over the world. they call it the bleeding death. >> i lost an auntie who died of cervical cancer. welcome, welcome. i was found to be having cancer. i don't want to die now. i don't want to leave my child. dr. gordon, she has helped me. >> within a day, we can literally save 20, 30 lives depending on the number of women we screen. this is everything you need to screen and treat a patient. we bring in these big suitcases. we teach local health care profes professionals the see and treat
technique. sure enough, there's the cervix. we pack up that suitcase and give it to the nurses that are going back to their clinics. most of the women that we treat live about an hour and a half to two hour walk from the clinic. >> my friend died. for my kids, i decided to come. >> i'm starting to see some dense white opaque lesions. >> i made the right decision. i was found positive. >> there are 8,000 people who are alive and well and able to provide for their families is honestly the most rewarding thing that i could have ever imagined in my life. she's been screened. she's negative.
she has a clean bill of health. when i'm on program, i am right where my feet are. i feel so grounded. it's an out of body experience. i'm just doing the job that i'm supposed to do. i think i'm the luckiest doctor that ever lived. [ applause ] >> please join me in honoring cnn hero dr. patricia gordon. [ applause ] >> thank you cnn for this honor and thank you to those who have heard our story and want to help
save the lives of women around the world. no woman should die from a painful, undignified death that's nearly 100% preventable. yet cervical cancer claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of women every year. that's a lot of mothers and sisters. most live in overlooked regions of the world. this award is for them, the forgotten women. we have so much work to do. so join us. let the women who have suffered and the women we will save know that we are there for them. thank you. [ applause ]
now please don't go away because we have more to come. >> coming up next, powerful performance by music sensation ella black celebrating our heroes. >> the moment you've all been waiting for. we will announce our 2021 cnn hero of the year. so stick around. you don't want to miss it. (vo) for fourteen years, subaru and our retailers have been sharing the love with those who need it most. now subaru is the largest automotive donor to make-a-wish and meals on wheels. and the largest corporate donor to the aspca and national park foundation. get a new subaru during the share the love event and subaru will donate two hundred and fifty dollars to charity. [vocalizing] [sound of dental machine] open
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welcome back to the 15th annual cnn heroes all star tribute. >> we are moments from announcing your choice for 2021 cnn hero of the year but first our final guest here with his newly released song that truly honors the spirit and work of our heroes. >> please join us in welcoming a champion for the campaign to end qualified immunity, which works to reform our criminal justice system, performing "believe." [ applause ] ♪ they said it can't be done that this one's a challenge you won't overcome ♪
♪ i know your dreams are bold. keep going you'll find that you're not on your own ♪ ♪ so don't give up and don't give in ♪ ♪ you've got to believe believe believe that anything is possible ♪ ♪ you've got to believe believe believe that anything is possible ♪ ♪ you've got to keep on and see it through no matter how hard that is to do ♪ ♪ you've got to believe to find the fire that's inside you ♪ ♪ you've got to believe ♪ ♪ so here we are
with billions of prayers out there floating like stars ♪ ♪ i know it seems hard just hold on to hope because you've made it this far soon you'll be out of the dark ♪ ♪ so don't give up and don't give in ♪ ♪ you've got to believe believe believe that anything is possible ♪ ♪ you've got to believe believe believe that anything is possible ♪ ♪ you've got to keep on and see it through no matter how hard that is to do ♪ ♪ you've got to believe to find the fire that's inside you ♪
♪ you've got to believe ♪ ♪ sometimes there's no way around no easy way out but you don't have to give up or give in to doubt ♪ ♪ let your spirit guide you hope is going to find you the dreams you seek can set you free so close your eyes imagine what you ought to see ♪ ♪ you've got to believe believe believe that anything isw to se♪ ♪ you've got to believe believe believe thaa to see ♪ ♪ you've got to believe believe believe than to see ♪ ♪ you've got to believe believe believe that to see ♪ ♪ you've got to believe believe believe that anything is possible ♪ ♪ you've got to believe believe believe that anything is
possible ♪ ♪ you've got to keep on see it through no matter how hard that is to do ♪ ♪ you've got to believe to find the fire that's inside you ♪ ♪ you've got to believe ♪ you've got to believe ♪ ♪ you've got to believe ♪ [cheers and applause] >> that was gorgeous. >> we want to bring back our top ten heroes back on stage. it's time for us to reveal our 2021 cnn hero of the year. >> since we announced the top ten heroes we gave you the opportunity to vote for the hero
who inspires you. the hero who received the most votes will be awarded an additional $100,000 to continue their life changing work. [cheers and applause] >> before we announce the 2021 cnn hero of the year let's give a round of applause to all of our heroes. [cheers and applause ] all right. you ready? >> you ready? >> all right. so now the 2021 cnn hero of the year is shirley raines. >> shirley raines. [cheers and applause]
>> congratulations. >> thank you. thank you so much. first and foremost i want to thank the amazing nine honorees i've been with. this journey has not been easy. i stand before you today a very broken woman. my life would never be the same since my son died but it's important that you know that broken people are still very much useful. we are very much useful.