Bernie Sanders, Common Among Stars to Celebrate Harry Belafonte's 94th Birthday in Charity Event

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Darlene Aderoju
·2 min read
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Robin Marchant/Getty; Jason Mendez/Getty; Alexander Tamargo/Getty Harry Belafonte, Common, Bernie Sanders

Harry Belafonte is being celebrated in a special way.

In recognition of his upcoming 94th birthday on March 1, a star-studded virtual party will be livestreamed in his honor on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. EST.

The Gathering for Harry will feature performances and guest appearances from an exciting list of entertainers along with religious and political leaders alike. Common, Danny Glover, Chuck D, Bernie and Jane Sanders, Stacey Abrams, Aloe Blacc, Tamika D. Mallory, Rev. Al Sharpton and Jackie Cruz are among those that will virtually attend the charitable event. A complete list of expected guests is available online.

As a tribute to Belafonte's work as a civil rights activist, proceeds from tickets sold for The Gathering for Harry will benefit the legendary performer's nonprofit organization, The Gathering for Justice. Ticket donations begin at $25 — those interested in sponsoring the event can donate upwards of $100,000.

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The icon founded the organization in 2005 after news broke of a 5-year-old Black student who was handcuffed and arrested in her Florida classroom. The Gathering for Justice aims to eradicate child incarceration and racial inequality in the American justice system.

Belafonte has been an advocate for equality for many years. "If you look at the spectrum of race relations in this country, on a lot of fronts, there is a retrogression. There is a reversal," he said during a 2016 appearance on CNN host Fareed Zakaria's Sunday morning show Global Public Square, per Variety. "I think what we achieved in the Civil Rights Movement to what we're now practicing as a nation — there is a reversal."

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Belafonte has been recognized for his efforts to inspire change domestically and abroad by several groups including: the American Jewish Congress, the NAACP, the City of Hope, Fight for Sight, The Urban League, The National Conference of Black Mayors, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Boy Scouts of America, Hadassah International and the Peace Corps. He was bestowed the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 200.

In 2013, Belafonte received the Spingarn Medal, the most revered award given by the NAACP in recognition of humanitarianism. The following year in 2014, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Belafonte is among a small group of stars who have earned EGOT status by winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award.