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8th Anniversary Gala (Oct 12) Festivities include Danny Glover, Alfre Woodard, Dr. Sandra Hernandez, Moet Hennessy USA, Ledisi and Pam Moore

San Francisco, CA (BlackNews.com) — The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) and retailer Wilkes Bashford joined forces on Tuesday, Sept. 24, to hold a festive Pre-Celebration of MoAD’s upcoming anniversary black-tie Gala, which will be held October 12, 2013 at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco, co-chaired by Wilkes Bashford and Deborah Santana.

Santana, MoAD Board Vice Chair and Founder/CEO, Do A Little Foundation, Inc., and well-known retailer and fashion icon Bashford, kept company with event hosts former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., a key catalyst in MoAD’s formation, and legendary broadcast journalist Belva Davis, founding MoAD Board Chair. Together they joined an enthusiastic, elegant crowd of notables in preparation for the museum’s approaching signature event, entitled “MoAD: The World’s Canvas.”

The October 12 black-tie Gala, celebrating MoAD’s eighth anniversary as a vital part of the San Francisco cultural landscape, will be held at the Palace Hotel. Award-winning news anchor Pam Moore of KRON 4 will emcee. Eight-time Grammy Award-nominated singer Ledisi, who is also a producer, actress, author, educator and activist, will provide jazz-influenced entertainment.

During the evening, MoAD will honor four world-changers: Actor and activist Danny Glover (who will receive the Patron of Culture Award); Dr. Sandra Hernandez, CEO of San Francisco Foundation (the Legacy of Philanthropy Award); Academy Award-nominee Alfre Woodard, (the Performing Arts Program Award); and Moët Hennessy, leading importer of luxury wines and spirits (the Corporate Leader Award). The Gala also includes a red-carpet cocktail reception, dinner with live auction and an after party.

Glover and Woodard, both active off stage in humanitarian causes, have global perspectives on MoAD. “MoAD’s extraordinary exhibits, youth education, and community outreach ably communicate a crucial message of unity,” said Glover, known for his peace activism. Woodard, who is busy preparing for the highly anticipated release of 12 Years a Slave in movie theaters next month, co-founded a nonprofit, Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA), to advance democracy. “I believe MoAD’s mission of drawing together the children of the African Diaspora to celebrate their heritage and acknowledge their common bonds, then share those ideas and traditions with the wide world is a monumental gift,” she said.

Deborah Santana, who also serves as MoAD’s interim executive director, shares those sentiments. “MoAD is dedicated to being a bridge that connects all people through our shared African ancestry and our common humanity.” She added, “The museum is a wonderful educational resource to parents, teachers, artists, and all who are interested in learning more about global art and cultures.”

“MoAD is an important national treasure,” added Wilkes Bashford, Co-Chair of this year’s Gala and a supporter of the museum. “For eight years it has been connecting with people of every background. We are fortunate to have it here in San Francisco, attracting visitors from across the globe and helping to build bridges among people of all ethnicities.”

Since opening in 2005, MoAD has welcomed more than 350,000 visitors from around the world. All visitors walk through seven displays that tell a story: The Origins of the African Diaspora; Celebrations: Ritual and Ceremony; Music of the Diaspora; Culinary Traditions; Adornment; Slavery Passages; and the Freedom Theater.

MoAD’s educational Wells Fargo Heritage Center opened in June 2006. Some of MoAD’s education initiatives include the Youth Media Training Program, a youth development and job readiness program featuring multimedia training and stipends to youth in grades 10 through 12. This program targets key areas such as the Bayview/Hunters Point and West Oakland.

As a cornerstone of the economic and cultural revitalization of downtown San Francisco, MoAD is uniquely positioned as one of the only museums focused exclusively on the history, art and culture of the African Diaspora.

About the Museum of the African Diaspora
The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) showcases the history, art and the cultural richness that resulted from the dispersal of Africans throughout the world, with innovative and engaging exhibitions, education and public programs. Incorporated in 2002 as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, MoAD opened its doors in 2005 in space contiguous with the St. Regis Hotel and Residences and in the historic Williams Building at 685 Mission Street at Third Street. MoAD was conceived as a cornerstone of the revitalization of downtown San Francisco, and has become an anchor with its neighbors San Francisco MOMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Children’s Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum) and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, in making this dynamic cultural corridor a premier destination. This area of Mission Street is a destination for artists, students, teachers, scholars, local residents and tourists alike. As a nonprofit organization, the museum’s operations and programs are supported by grants and contributions from public and private sources. For more details, visit www.MoADSF.org

Photo Caption: Deborah Santana, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Wilkes Bashford, Belva Davis

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