On Sunday, May 19, WAVE (Women for American Values and Ethics) will present their first annual “Light the Way for Change” event, aimed at addressing the growing problem of intolerance and violence in Orange County and offering a more just and peaceful path forward. WAVE has recruited a varied panel of speakers to lead the conversation, including R. Derek Black, former white nationalist; Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein, parents of Blaze Bernstein and LGBTQ advocates; and many other community advocates and thought leaders.
“With the rise of hate crimes in Orange County and nationally, we at WAVE felt an urgent need and responsibility to begin a community conversation that will lead us on a path towards mutual respect and dignity for all,” said WAVE founder and president Joanna Weiss. “The first half of our program will feature the stories of families who have suffered the loss of a child due to intolerance and senseless violence and yet have found a way to turn these tragedies into inspirational calls to action. The second half of the program will involve an open conversation between noted expert on political extremism, Dr. Pete Simi of Chapman University, and Derek Black, on the subject of the rise of white nationalism and Derek’s personal story of transformation.”
Orange County residents Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein will speak about the death of their son, Blaze, a 19-year-old Ivy League college student who was murdered in an alleged hate crime because he was gay. The Bernstein’s have turned their tragedy into a nationwide movement dedicated to making the world a better place by confronting hate with kindness.
Music will be presented by the Jorg Dubin band and Laguna Beach Entertainer of the Year, Roxanna Ward.
WAVE is a diverse group of over 1,000 nonpartisan women that engages, educates and empowers its members and the community to advance progressive American values and ethics. This event celebrates the launch of WAVE Action Fund, the 501(c)(4) nonprofit arm of the WAVE organization. Funds raised through the event will be used to support WAVE’s initiatives, including gun safety, migrant rights, diversity and inclusion, student mobilization and engagement, and climate change.
If you go:
WHEN: Sunday, May 19, 3-5 p.m., doors open at 2:15 p.m.
WHERE: Laguna Beach Artist Theater, 625 Park Avenue
TICKETS: Seating is limited, early ticket purchased advised, wave.nationbuilder.com
SPEAKERS: R. Derek Black (Former White Nationalist); Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein, Parents of Blaze Bernstein; Victoria Mendez, Stanford University, Global Director, Cool 2 Be Kind; Anna Mendez, National Association of People Against Bullying; Dr. Marilyn J. Harran, Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education Chapman Univ; Dr. Pete Simi, Chapman University; Shelley McMahon, Moms Demand Action