By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
NEW YORK – U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon honored rock icon Steven Tyler with the 2016 Humanitarian Award at the United Nations Ambassador’s Ball in New York City.
The Aerosmith frontman was recognized for Janie’s Fund – a philanthropic initiative he created in 2015, in partnership with Youth Villages – an organization that brings hope and healing to girls who have suffered abuse and neglect.
“It’s a culmination of a life that I’ve spent on the tail of a comet going so fast,” Tyler said, “and here I get a chance to reflect, be with his excellency, be with the UN people and talk about what our music with Aerosmith and my voice has done and also the voice of the children that have no voice, that we can give them a voice through Janie’s fund.”
At the helm of this annual fundraiser are two Filipino-American organizers, Mel Henderson and Luz MacArthur, who worked tirelessly for the Hospitality Committee for United Nations Delegations.
Co-Chair for Hospitality Committee for United Nations Delegations (HCUND) Mel Henderson said, “We really rocked the walls out of here, with Steven Tyler leading the way… He and the Secretary General just have so many causes that they both believe in and championed tirelessly.”
Chairwoman Luz MacArthur, a descendant of Douglas MacArthur, says the hospitality committee came about after a tragic event involving newly arrived diplomats 62 years ago.
“The families are alone, they can’t speak the language — this family was so lonely took her children and jumped out of window, out of loneliness,” MacArthur said, “From then on the Secretary General said we’ve got to do something about it.”
Supporters of this ball include philanthropists including Fil-Am community leader Loida Nicolas Lewis, and President-Elect Donald Trump’s ex-wife Marla Maples.
“I have lovely friends who invited me, I love getting to know the incredible work of the United Nations and all the people whose hearts come together to do good for the world. How you share back in the world is the secret of happiness,” said Maples.
“This is big, they’ve been doing this for many many years, but ever since Luz MacArthur took over, it became grand and very very elaborate,” Lewis said.
Macarthur says, at first glance — Tyler may seem an unexpected choice, but the more they looked into Janie’s Fund, the more they see that the rock legend with a big voice has an even bigger heart, inspiring millions, including many kababayans.
“Filipino!!! You know we’ll be back…” Tyler said in a shout-out.
Don Tagala: firstname.lastname@example.org