Oprah Winfrey, Alanis Morissette, Julia Roberts and over 200 celebrities will participate in the 24-hour-long fundraiser “The Call to Unite.”
Kicking off May 1 at 8 p.m. and running through 8 p.m. May 2, the livestreamed event will take place on “The Call to Unite” website and major social media platforms. Guests will offer stories, poems, dances, songs or prayers over the course of the 24-hour event.
“‘The Call to Unite’ will stand in solidarity with those experiencing pain, fear, loneliness and grief — and offer hope and support as we build a new future together,” the benefit’s organizers said in a statement. “Throughout the event, global leaders will join citizens of the world in sharing practices, lessons, songs, performances, reflections and more to help us turn the pain of this moment into possibility for tomorrow.”
The event is spearheaded by Special Olympic Chairman Tim Shriver, who will be joined by Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, T.D. Jakes and more to launch the event with a special opening hour.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Andrew Bird, Angelique Kidjo, Avril Lavigne, Debbie Allen, Elizabeth Gilbert, Eva Longoria, Jewel, Yo-Yo Ma, Rob Lowe, Quincy Jones, 98 Degrees, Naomi Campbell (and Judd), Minnie Driver, Marie Kondo, Mandy Moore, LeAnn Rimes, Lil Buck, Questlove and many others are also slated to appear.
Donations made during the event will benefit GiveDirectly, which will provide direct support to families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization is also partnering with President George H. W. Bush’s “Points of Light” volunteer program.
“Today, billions of people around the world are isolated and anxious because of the COVID-19 pandemic — unable to gather with loved ones, go to work, or even mourn those they’ve lost,” the organizers said. “Still, in this moment of isolation, millions are rising to the occasion by showing each other love and support in countless ways. ‘The Call to Unite’ is a celebration of those acts of humanity, and an invitation to the world to join in lifting one another in this moment of need.”
The event joins a mounting list of star-studded benefits that have cropped up amid the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the “One World: Together At Home” concert, presented by Global Citizen and Lady Gaga, raised $127.9 million, which will be distributed to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and to local and regional responders. Likewise, the recent Bruce Springsteen-headlined “Jersey 4 Jersey” broadcast fundraiser collected $5.9 million for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.
“New Jersey has a rich history of producing incredible talent and we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of interest from the entertainment community,” Tammy Murphy, First Lady of New Jersey, said after the event. “I only wish we could have included them all. We wanted to give a virtual hug to a very weary audience while raising money for such an important cause. The night really embodied Jersey pride and ‘Jersey strong.’”