For the month of June, USA's "Characters Unite" public service program--which was created to address social issues such as homophobia, gender discrimination, and others that divide communities--is working with CB2 to host in-store Pride month events across the country. These events, coupled with on-air and digital promotion, aim to combat hate in all forms and benefit GLSEN, the leading national education organization working to ensure schools are safe for all students.
At the New York event this week, held in CB2's Soho location, the room was abuzz with supporters. The phrase "I Won't Stand For..." was the event's clear and present slogan. A T-shirt stamping station, at which patrons could customize T-shirts with offenses and attitudes that they wouldn't tolerate, along with an open candy buffet (with free Prosecco) were offered as refreshments, while out former football player Wade Davis and Royal Pains star, Reshma Shetty were the guests of honor.
Davis, who's devoted his life to youth activism, is now the academic enrichment coordinator and director at the Hetrick-Martin Institute and teaches "job readiness."
"It's everything from top to bottom about a young person trying to get a job," Davis explained. The former Tennessee Titan, who's also focused on creating spaces for queer youth in athletics, has launched a sports camp for young LGBT athletes and allies. "It's a camp that's going to bring together LGBT youth and straight allies," Davis said, with his signature big grin. "It's going to launch in Chicago, and we've partnered with the Center on Halsted, GLSEN, and You Can Play.
Royal Pains actress Reshma Shetty, who's been a part of the "Characters Unite" campaign since its start three years ago, added enthusiasticly: "I love being a part of a network that's one of the few that actually does something like this." Growing up in Lincolnshire, England, Shetty explained that she that though she was aware that she was different from other people, she was never made to feel excluded. "I was made to feel different, because I was, I was one of three Asian people in my village" Shetty said, "but I was never made to feel different." A staunch LGBT advocate, the Royal Pains star said: "Difference is nothing to fear. It's fear that bogs us down as human beings."
USA and CB2 have two other scheduled events, one in San Francisco and one in Chicago. As part of the promotion, CB2 and CB2.com are selling messenger bags, with part of the proceeds benefitting GLSEN.
WATCH a promo video that explains the focus of the program: