Parkland Student Survivors and Parents Band Together With Leading Activists to Create
Inaugural Actions For Change Food and Music Festival Fundraiser

The Festival Includes the Debut of MSD Student Activists’ New Album “Wake Up America”

Celebrity activist Alyssa Milano kicked off an evening of food, music, healing and celebration on Sunday, September 30, 2018, at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Fl. Dubbed the “Actions for Change Benefit Festival,” the event featured the debut of a new album for change, “Wake Up America,” written by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students to raise awareness about gun safety, spearheaded by one of the greatest social activists and musicians since the 60’s, Peter Yarrow, from Peter, Paul and Mary. The full album was released the same day and is now available on Spotify.

Alyssa Milano and Nahko at the Actions for Change Festival in Parkland

Throughout the evening, there were musical performances from artists such as Michael Franti & Spearhead, Nahko, Carrie Manolakos, Skip Marley, and Friends of Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. Guests enjoyed sweet and savory bites from highly-acclaimed chefs, many of whom are either James Beard Award Winners and/or Michelin rated. Manuel Oliver, cofounder of Change The Ref also shared a powerful, live art activation. The festival closed with a cast performance of “Shine” the song chosen by Concerts Across America to End Gun Violence as the one song for peace performed across the county at each of their events.

Peace, unity, and love in the air Sunday night with @michaelfranti
Skip Marley and the MSD choir on stage

Shortly after the shooting on February 14th in Parkland, Shine MSD and Change The Ref formed their organizations in response to the horrific events that unfolded. Supporting the young people who want and deserve change, the organizations are working hard to ensure their voices continue to be heard. Now, they’ve banding together with equality company, The Female Quotient, with an inaugural fundraising event, Actions For Change Food And Music Festival.

“We can never take back the events of that day, but our hope is that by mobilizing the next generation, no other community will experience what we have gone through. This Action For Change event is just our way of creating purpose out of pain. We felt like we had to do something and trying to soothe this community felt like the right thing to do. Doing “nothing” was not an option.”

Doug Zeif, parent of Parkland survivors Sam and Matthew Zeif and organizer for Action For Change.

Joe Garrity, President of Shine MSD, an organization formed to provide healing through the arts for victims of gun violence, asserted that “The power of art to heal is undeniable. Art gives a person the ability to express feelings that are too often buried until the feelings surface as depression or anger. By providing art as an outlet, we allow the students to confront these feeling and help resolve them. We are excited to eat great food and share new student songs with our friends. It’s what Shine MSD is all about, art, music, and unity.”

Manuel Oliver, father of Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver, founded Change the Ref (CTR), to empower future leaders, giving them the tools they need to be empowered to make changes to critical issues that affect our nation, through education, conversation, and activism. Oliver commented on his hopes in advance of the event, saying “Patricia and I are looking forward to this special evening and bringing our community together. Our organization is dedicated to empowering the young people who are out their fighting for change. We know our son “Gauc” would be right there with them. We believe that the best way to convince people to make change is to impact them.”

@manueloliver00’s mural was breathtaking and heartbreaking

Parkland Parent Doug Zeif created Actions for Change with significant help from Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient; David Sable, Global CEO of Y&R; the Board members of Shine MSD, Carol Chenkin, Wendy Zipes Hunter, President of Celebrity Concepts and Marketing and Jen Goldman-Freeman to raise the next generation’s awareness for voter registration and advocate for gun reform.

“We’re about collaboration for impact,” said Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient, an organization whose mission it is to advance gender equality in the workplace, helped bring together advertising industry leaders and resources. “Our voices alone are powerful, but together we have voices for change.”