By Vic Gerami
‘The Power to Give’, that’s not something you hear often in Hollywood; but there are exceptions.
Exceptional is a word that modestly describes both men responsible for an inspiring evening in the heart of Hollywood. Actor Matt McGorry of ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ and ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and write Edgar Villanueva, author of best-selling book, ‘Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance’, led a discussion, ‘The Power to Give: A Night of Decolonizing Wealth’ at NeueHouse in Hollywood.
McGorry, co-founder of ‘Inspire Justice’ (IJ) with JLove Calderon, and Villanueva, founder of ‘Decolonizing Wealth’ project have been hosting activists, influencers and storytellers to examine the power of giving as well as the ways individuals and groups can decolonize their wealth and begin to use money as a form of societal and individual medicine. Calderón is an award-winning creative, activist, coach and trainer working on the frontlines of race, class, and gender for two decades.
The duo and their team’s work has been the talk of the town for a few years, further cementing LA’s reputation as ground-zero for a new wave of activism that started with Prop 8. IJ offers multiple products and services which complement their goal to create more joyful and liberated individuals, communities, and world. They specialize in training and development for media networks and production companies both large and small. They create and facilitate trainings that foster thriving, inclusive cultures at workplaces, on production sets, and in the writers’ room.
The intimate event brought together a range of guests who shared a common goal of a more equitable and just society for all, and who are ready to take action. Dayna Lynne North, writer of, ‘Insecure’ and ‘Veronica Mars’ hosted the intimate event with experts of Villanueva’s book read by actor Jay Ellis of ‘Insecure’ and ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’
After a festive cocktail reception with live music and hors d’oeuvre, guests were led to the rooftop for the second part of the program.
McGorry declared that the power of storytelling was the theme of the evening and paid homage to Villanueva, his book and activism. He continued by saying that Villanueva’s book doesn’t only diagnose the problem (inequity, lack of access, white supremacy), but offers solutions as well. He added that that money can be like medicine, to heal those who have been wronged-mostly committed by white men.
McGorry’s signature candor that makes him stand out in a sea of Hollywood do-gooder continued as he called out Hollywood’s establishment. While reading alarming statistics regarding the distribution of power in 2019, he said, “%91 of show-runners in Hollywood is white.” He even described himself as part of the privileged class, deepening our trust that he gets it.
Villanueva added a dose of his bluntness when he said, “We wake up every day and swallow the pill of white supremacy.” He closed the evening by announcing the launch of Decolonizing Wealth Project’s ‘Liberated Capital Fund.’
I had the honor of interviewing McGorry last year and have been a fan of his work ever since. Plenty of celebrities are benevolent and champion causes, but few are as dedicated and consistent as McGorry.
ABOUT INSPIRE JUSTICE
We are multiracial and inter-generational activists across the gender spectrum.
We educate, organize and train celebrities, influencers and media companies to best leverage their hearts, creativity, and platforms to transform culture toward social good.
We inspire justice.
We create conscious and compelling content for television, film, and digital platforms that serves as a tool for challenging dominant narratives.
We specialize in transformative justice training and social impact advising — giving clients the means to become powerful, well-informed social change agents.
For more information, please visit WeInspireJustice.com
ABOUT EDGAR VILLANUEVA
Edgar Villanueva is a nationally-recognized expert on social justice philanthropy and author of Decolonizing Wealth, a new book released on October 16, 2018 by Berrett-Koehler Publishing which offers hopeful and compelling alternatives to the dynamics of colonization in the philanthropic and social finance sectors.
Edgar currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Native Americans in Philanthropy; a Board Member of the Andrus Family Fund; and Vice President of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education. In addition to working in philanthropy for many years, he has consulted with numerous nonprofit organizations and national and global philanthropies on advancing racial equity inside of their institutions and through their investment strategies.
For more information, please visit DecolonizingWealth.com