STAY STRONG FOUNDATION|
SANTA COMES TO HARLEM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(212) 220-4333 ext. 235
JOHNNIE COCHRAN & THE STAY STRONG FOUNDATION
PARTNER TO BRING SANTA TO APOLLO THEATER
Noted attorney Johnnie Cochran, in partnership with The Stay Strong Foundation, the New York-based non-profit organization designed to empower America's youth, brought Santa and the North Pole to Harlem's famed Apollo Theater on Thursday, December 13. The event included holiday readings, musical performances and the distribution of toys to more than 500 needy children.
Cochran, the recently appointed chairman of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, and a board member of the Foundation, enlisted the support of a number of organizations and personalities for the event. Those who donated toys, funds and/or services included: Toys R Us; the queen off hip-hop soul Mary J. Blige; entertainment exec (and brother of Eddie Murphy) Vernon Lynch; Butch Lewis and Butch Lewis Productions; The Magic Johnson Foundation; Rita Ewing, owner of Harlem’s soon-to-be-opened Hue-Man Bookstore; The Apollo Theater; Players Govern Players (a lifestyle marketing and advertising company headed by Xavier Artis, the Foundation’s co-founder and president); The Terrie Williams Agency; KB Toys; Music World Entertainment, Inc. (Destiny’s Child management company); Essence Communications Partners; Harlem Hospital; Pelle Pelle Fashions; Priscilla Clarke of NEB Entertainment, Inc.; special events producer Marilyn Artis of FTP Productions; Margo Lewis of MTL Productions; Rachel Noerdlinger, press secretary for the National Action Network; writer Joe Cooney; special guest performer Khalilah; Duce Martinez and Jose Burgos of Soul Creation Productions; James Perry of Perjas Music; Derek A. Jenkins of Ground Level Entertainment; entertainment attorney Matt Middleton; and The Official Hip Hop Hall of Fame.
“Santa’s Helpers” who were on hand to give toys to the kids included recording artist Jaheim; comedic actress Hazelle Goodman; Doug E. Fresh; boxer Renaldo Snipes; Queen Pen; comedian Joe Clair; Malcolm Shabazz, the 17-year-old grandson of Malcolm X; and AIDS activist Maria Davis.
“We hope to bring some joy and good cheer to the children,” said Cochran. “Especially this year with all the recent tragedies. In these times of uncertainty and fear we just wanted to give these kids some time to enjoy themselves, as well as give them a sense of hope and support. We’re all in this together.”
Nearly 600 children ages 6-12 from several New York City Housing Authority sites attended the event. Kids from Addie Mae Collins School, Harlem Dowling West Side Center, and The Johnnie Cochran Academy of Law and Community Service of East Orange, NJ, also enjoyed the holiday celebration. The participating Housing Authority sites included Lincoln, Rangel, Pologrounds, St. Nicholas, Manhattanville, KingTowers, Lehman, Clinton, Wilson, East River and Jackie Robinson.
The Stay Strong Foundation was founded in April by renowned author and public relations guru Terrie Williams in conjunction with the release of her latest book, Stay Strong: Simple Life Lessons for Teens. The Foundation holds several special events throughout the year that are designed to educate, empower and inspire young people. Internships and mentoring and shadowing programs are also set up for teens through the Foundation.
Cochran, who began his career in Los Angeles, has practiced law for nearly four decades. His work on behalf of victims of police brutality, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden and the oppressed is the cornerstone of his amazingly successful career. The Cochran Firm has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Mobile, Tuskegee and Montgomery, Alabama, and Atlanta and Chicago. Over the years Cochran has donated countless hours and resources to a number of civic and charitable organizations.
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