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Combating Gender Based Violence:

Every day we’re rocked with a new, more devastating headline about another man who has abused his power to violate women’s most fundamental rights. These stories are finally bringing to light how pervasive sexual harassment and violence against women truly is. But there’s another side to this story, being written by men who refuse to stay silent and are taking action to chip away at this epidemic.

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Voices of Solidarity is a presentation of the Vital Voices Solidarity Award to remarkable men who have shown courage and compassion in advocating on behalf of women and girls in the United States and around the world. This inspiring evening brings together the most conscientious and committed individuals, corporations and issue advocates to united their voices against this global epidemic.

Cody McDavis

Honoree, 2019

Cody McDavis is a lawyer and advocate for sexual and gender-based violence prevention and policy.  His work began in 2014, when he directed a joint effort between the Obama Administration and the NCAA to engage with students across the nation in consent and bystander intervention.  He received the Champion of Change award from the White House in 2016 for this work.  Cody then worked directly with the NCAA for two years to research and implement national policy changes to better prevent acts of sexual violence and gender-based violence as well as protect survivors of such acts.  His efforts led to the Big Sky Conference, where he played NCAA Division I men’s basketball, to be the first in the country to adopt comprehensive policy banning participation of student-athletes that have committed an act of sexual or gender-based violence.  Cody has worked with numerous United States Congressman and Congresswomen, the American Council on Education, and to lobby the largest educational institutions across the country to adopt stronger policies to prevent occurrences of sexual violence.  Cody’s lobbying efforts with are supported by more than 215,000 people.

Cody currently serves on the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (“AMSSM”) Task Force on Sexual Violence and Harassment in Sports, where he is working to develop policies for institutions to provide safer spaces to prevent and report abuse.  He is also working closely with national activist and survivor, Brenda Tracy, to draft sexual violence prevention policies for institutions across the country.  Finally, he recently started his own non-profit, Foundation 42, which provides academic scholarships to students that want to work in the field of sexual and gender-based violence prevention and policy.

Cody McDavis was a Solidarity Honoree at the 2019 Voices of Solidarity event. 

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Right Honorable David Miliband

Honoree, 2019

David Miliband is the President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. He oversees the agency’s relief and development operations in over 30 countries, its refugee resettlement and assistance programs throughout the United States and the IRC’s advocacy efforts in Washington and other capitals on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people.

David has had a distinguished political career in the United Kingdom. From 2007 to 2010, he served as the youngest Foreign Secretary in three decades, driving advancements in human rights and representing the United Kingdom throughout the world. His accomplishments have earned him a reputation, in former President Bill Clinton’s words, as “one of the ablest, most creative public servants of our time.” In 2016 David was named one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine and in 2018 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

David is also the author of the book, Rescue: Refugees and the Political Crisis of Our Time. As the son of refugees, David brings a personal commitment to the IRC’s work and to the premise of the book: that we can rescue the dignity and hopes of refugees and displaced people. And if we help them, in the process we will rescue our own values.

The Rt. Hon. David Miliband was selected as a 2019 Voices of Solidarity Honoree.

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François-Henri Pinault

Honoree, 2019

Since taking over as Chairman and CEO in 2005, François-Henri Pinault has transformed Kering into a global luxury group.

Mr Pinault joined the Pinault Group in 1987, where he held senior positions in several of the Group’s operating companies before joining its executive board.

In 2000, he became deputy CEO of Kering, responsible for the group’s digital strategy. Three years later, Mr Pinault was named Chairman of the Artemis Group a French holding company, and Kering’s controlling shareholder. He took charge of Kering’s operations as Chairman and CEO in 2005.

In addition to holding several other board positions, he chairs the Kering Corporate Foundation, which was launched in 2009 to combat violence against women.

Mr Pinault’s passion for sustainability led Kering to pioneer an Environmental Profit & Loss account.

A French national, he is a graduate of the HEC business school.

Photo Courtesy of: Carole Bellaiche

Mr. Pinault was honored as a Solidarity Honoree at the 2019 Voices of Solidarity. 

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José Guadalupe Ruelas García

Honoree, 2019

José Guadalupe Ruelas García was born in Honduras in 1969.

He is the National Director of Casa Alianza Honduras, a subsidiary of Covenant House International a leading organization in providing protection and development opportunities to children in abandonment. He is part of a multidisciplinary team of 70 people who each year have significant contact with more than 1500 girls and boys.

For more than 25 years he has dedicated his professional life to local development processes and human rights defense, in different organizations.

He has participated in various national and international forums making visible the reality of girls and boys in Honduras.

In 2016, he received the WOLA human rights award for Casa Alianza

In 2018, he received from the Mexican government the “Othli” award, for his career of rectitude and commitment to the progress of his society.

José Guadalupe Ruelas García was honored as a Solidarity Honoree at our 2019 Voices of Solidarity event, and has been a partner for our Voices Against Violence Initiative.

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Darren Walker

Honoree, 2019

Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, a $13 billion international social justice philanthropy. He is co-founder and chair of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy.

Before joining Ford, Darren was vice president at Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs. In the 1990s, he was COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Harlem’s largest community development organization.

Darren co-chairs New York City’s Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and serves on The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform and UN International Labour Organization Global Commission on the Future of Work. He serves on many boards, including Carnegie Hall, the High Line, VOW to End Child Marriage, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of 16 honorary degrees and university awards, including Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal.

Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren was a member of the first Head Start class in 1965 and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin. He has been included on Time’s annual 100 Most Influential People in the World, Rolling Stone’s 25 People Shaping the Future, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, and OUT Magazine’s Power 50.

Darren Walker was selected as a 2019 Voices of Solidarity Honoree.