Ads-Up is a charity where Australian ex-pats help refugees from Manus Island and Nauru settle in the United-States. Last night, April 26th, they held their inaugural It’s Your Shout Gala in New York. The soirée was co-hosted by Rose Byrne, Naomi Watts and Laura Brown, and took place at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen in Greenwich Village.
Rose Byrne had a few words on the charity’s mission and her involvement: “Everyone deserves to live in freedom with financial security, and education is one of the best ways to achieve that. The Australian community has really stepped up to help these refugees and I couldn’t be prouder to lend them a hand.” Ads-Up co-founder Fleur Woods also shared her enthusiasm for her community’s involvement: “It is awe inspiring to see the Australian community in NYC step up to help these refugees who are in real need. Right now, I couldn’t be prouder to be Australian.”
Other celebs in attendance to help this worthy cause alongside Byrne and Brown were Deborra-Lee Furness, Nicole Warne, and Donna Karan. Australian-owned businesses in the city also lent a helping hand, with the catering being covered by spots like Bluestone Lane, Two Hands, Ruby’s, The Flower Shop, Lalito, M&G foodstuffs, Charley St, Uncle Chop Chop, Trapizzino, Gran Tivolia and beverages from the Bird in Hand winery, the Australian distillery Four Pillars Gin and Mr. Black.
The cause is especially worthwhile in today’s political climate, as the Australian Government has refused to accept any refugees arriving by boat since 2013. The policy was put in place to deter asylum seekers from paying people-smugglers to take them on the dangerous boat journey to Australian via Indonesia, but more than 1,500 refugees arrived after the policy change, and have since been detained on Manus Island and Nauru as the Australian government has refused to resettle them. They’ve been slammed by the UN and international human rights groups for detention in prison-like conditions. The refugees, which include LGBTQ+ and atheist individuals from repressive countries, ethnic minorities fleeing violent persecution, and political activists targeted for their opinions, are being held on these islands with limited access to medical services, social services, and visitors. Even more outrageous is the fact that they have no say in their resettlement, and those seeking asylum in the US must pay for their own travel as per US policy.
Over the course of the evening, attendees raised over $120,000 to support 500 refugees. The money will be going to an educational fund, which the charity feels is a step in helping these refugees not only survive but thrive in their new environment.