Educate. Inspire. Empower. Those are the words behind the mission of the National Women's History Museum and that is why their private brunch Saturday was an educating, inspiring, and empowering afternoon that gathered together a group of highly influential women for a very worthy cause. Along with its Los Angeles Regional Council and Glamour Magazine, the National Women's History Museum hosted its Third Annual Women Making History Event at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles to celebrate the significant achievements of women and to generate awareness on the importance of preserving women's history with a museum.
“I'm beyond honored to be here. It's surreal.” said Bush, who was recognized for her influential philanthropic efforts. The “Chicago PD” star has raised over $400,000 for various causes via Crowdrise.com and other fund-raisers. She serves as an Advisory Council Member for Invisible Children, and is a board member of both F Cancer and I Am That Girl. Her work as a leading advocate for Pencils of Promise has led her to gather enough donations to build two schools in Guatemala.
“For me, it's seeing other women realize how powerful they are, and give themselves the permission to chase their dreams and to fight for the things that they believe in,” Bush said on what she finds rewarding about the opportunity to empower others. “When they come back to me and say, 'Hey, back when you said this to me, it inspired me and I went out and did this with that inspiration.' That's it! If that could be the story of the rest of my life, I think it would be a good one.”
Bush's fellow honoree, Khouri, has been behind a few good stories in her life, most recently creating and serving as the executive producer of ABC's critically-acclaimed drama, “Nashville”. Khouri was honored for her on-screen work which has included films such as: “Something to Talk About”, starring Julia Roberts, and her directorial debut, “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, starring Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd. “I feel very fortunate to get to go to work everyday. This is a business that is very difficult and I'm happy that I have been able to sustain a career for this length,” said Khouri, who sparked a nationwide conversation in 1991 with her screen-writing debut, “Thelma and Louise.” The movie received six Academy Award nominations and won Khouri the Oscar, Golden Globe and Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay. “It's shocking that our 25th anniversary of “Thelma and Louise” is next year! The fact that I have worked for that 25 years in between is really amazing. I'm very, very grateful for that.”
Khouri was presented her award by long-time friend and “Thelma and Louise” star, Geena Davis. “I'm just such a proponent of the National Women's History Museum,” said Davis. “I'm a huge supporter and I'm just hoping this event will bring more awareness to the importance of having this to finally showcase what women were doing.”
Ana Ortiz and Brinna Brown ("Devious Maids") co-hosted the brunch that also brought out Kate Walsh ("Private Practice"), Norman Lear, Sharon Lawrence ("Rizzoli & Isles"), Maria Bello ("Prime Suspect"), Paula Abdul, Amy Brenneman ("Private Practice"), and many more.
CEO and President of the National Women's History Museum, Joan Wages, said they love being able to commemorate women who are setting examples for future generations. “We want to choose those who have really made a mark in some way.”
The National Women's History Museum believes that building a museum in Washington, D.C. that fully integrates women's distinctive history into the history of the United States and educating Americans about the fundamental ways women have shaped the nation will inspire girls and show them that gender doesn't have to put a limit on what they can and can't do.
Brianna Brown said knowing what women accomplished in the past plays a role in opening doors to new opportunities for the present.
“What I find is so interesting is when you hear these stories that I was not exposed to when I was younger, I think why did I not know that? How did I know that she did that so long ago? It creates possibilities for me and other people to say, 'Wow, if that person could have done that then, what could be done now having really a lot less hurdles?'”
Actress Maria Bello shared how being aware of women's notable achievements in history helped influence her on her path to becoming the woman she is today.
“My mother; Gloria Steinem, who has been my idol forever, and going back as far as Cleopatra - these incredible women have shifted and changed history. Sojourner Truth, who stood up fighting for Civil Rights saying, 'And ain't I a woman?' Because she was Black and saying women should have the right to vote. There are so many of these incredibly strong women in history that have helped me to define who I am as a woman,” said Bello. “I'm so excited to be here!”
As a mother, Anna Ortiz said she couldn't agree more with the value of having a museum solely dedicated to women's history. “It's an exciting thing to be a part of. I have a daughter, I have a son, and I think both of them could benefit from a place like this. I think our whole culture could,” said the actress. “I think the time is really now for people to come together and make this happen. It's so possible!”
And people definitely came together this weekend to help make it happen.
To donate to help make the National Women's History Museum possible, visit www.nwhm.org.