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Safe Horizon's 22nd Annual Champion Awards Raises Over $1.4 Million Dollars

Contact: Brian Pacheco, Safe Horizon’s Director of Public Relations
t. 212-577-7709 | c. 646-306-1136 | e.


Host Alan Cumming, Tamron Hall, Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang with honorees Jana Kramer and Samantha Saperstein at our 22nd Annual Champion Awards 2017

April 6, 2017 (New York, NY) –Safe Horizon, the nation’s leading victim services agency, yesterday hosted its 22nd Annual Champion Awards. The gala focused on the children and young people harmed by violence and abuse, raising 1.4 million to support Safe Horizon’s life-saving services and programs. Hosted by Alan Cumming, a survivor of child abuse himself, the event honored country music artist and actress Jana Kramer, and Chief Marketing Officer of Commercial Banking at JPMorgan Chase and Safe Horizon Board Member Samantha Saperstein. Notable attendees included journalist and host of Deadline Crime Tamron Hall, co-host of ABC’s The Chew Clinton Kelly and Grammy Award winning India Arie.

“Congratulations to the incredible Samantha Saperstein and Jana Kramer, both whom are well-deserving of their honors,” said Ariel Zwang, Safe Horizon CEO. “As a valued board member, Samantha has been a tireless advocate for the safety and well-being of children and I thank her for her service and dedication. And I applaud Jana for bravely telling her harrowing story of surviving domestic violence and using her platform as a celebrity to help the affected women, families and children. This gala helps Safe Horizon raise critical funds that enable us to further our mission and deepen effective services for the 250,000 lives we touch every year.”

Highlights from the evening included an emotional performance from the India Arie with her song “I Am Light.” Before her live, stunning vocals, she revealed:  “I’m a survivor of childhood abuse… and so from a very young age I wanted to heal myself and other people.” (Click here, to view India’s performance)

Later in the night, Tamron Hall remembered her late sister Renate–who was murdered in 2004 after years of relationships with abusive men–as the reason why she has created The Tamron ♥ Renate Fund to support Safe Horizon in helping victims, their children and families.

“I had an opportunity to walk through a Safe Horizon shelter with rock star Dave Navarro…Both of us were weeping. Dave lost his mother to domestic violence…One of the Safe Horizon workers told me, and Dave, that a young boy said that his first night in the shelter he slept with both eyes closed and the worker asked ‘what do you mean by that?’ He said, ‘to protect my mom I would keep one eye open every night to make sure she was safe.’

“The innocence of a child not realizing that at some point, of course, he went to sleep but in his mind he was a superhero, kept one eye open to make sure his mom was safe. Safe Horizon provided him with a place for the first time in his life he knew he could close his eyes—something all of us will do tonight and take for granted—he could close his eyes because of Safe Horizon.” Tamron said to the 1,000 attendees (Click here, to view Tamron’s remarks)

Voice of Empowerment Award Honoree Jana Kramer first shared her story of almost losing her life at the hands of her then-husband in an exclusive with ABC’s Good Morning America last October. She gave a tearful speech saying, “[A] huge fear of mine was my story [of surviving domestic violence], that if I shared my story people would view me as broken,” but ended her speech by saying, “I will be the loudest voice” to speak out against domestic violence.  Right before The Champion Awards, Jana visited a Safe Horizon domestic violence shelter and reflected on the children she met and how as a mother she is grateful that Safe Horizon provides a safe space for the children to simply be kids. (Click here, to view Jana’s speech)

Childhood sexual abuse survivor and Senior Director of Safe Horizon’s Bronx Child Advocacy Center Fabio Cotza gave an unforgettable speech that didn’t leave a dry eye in the room. “As we are here at this wonderful event, I think about the cave [basement] where my darkest memories began. Somewhere in this city tonight there is a child in a dark cave of their own. I hope that they will make it out of that place. But please know that because of your support there will always be a way out of the darkness – to a Safe Horizon.” (Click here to view Fabio’s speech)

Distinguished Service Award Honoree Samantha Saperstein shared with the crowd a video she produced that showed how Safe Horizon helps children affected by violence and abuse and reaffirmed her commitment to be an advocate against child abuse.

Safe Horizon’s 22nd Annual Champion Awards was presented at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers. Special thanks to American Airlines, the world’s largest air carrier, as our official airline for this year’s awards.

About Safe Horizon’s Impact on Children and Young People

Safe Horizon empowers victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking to move from crisis to confidence – touching the lives of 250,000 individuals every year.

Last year, Safe Horizon’s Child Advocacy Centers offered help and hope to more than 6,400 children. At Safe Horizon’s family court programs, which provides free, supportive and educational childcare of child victims and witnesses, and the children of adults appearing in court, welcomed over 10,400 children to have a safe space to be themselves for a while. Safe Horizon’s Streetwork Project helped more than 1,100 homeless young people and 1,600 children were tucked into a bed at Safe Horizon’s eight domestic violence shelters.