The star-studded event took place at the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills and welcomed guests including charity board member Shay Mitchell, “Prison Break’s” Dominic Purcell, McCord’s former co-stars Shenae Grimes-Beech and Nicky Whelan, and “Step Up 2’s” Briana Evigan.
together1heart is an organization that raises money and awareness surrounding the issues of slavery and human trafficking around the world. Its mission is “one voice, one purpose, one love.”
The charity strives to end slavery and protect those victimized in brothels, forced labor, and human trafficking.
McCord was recently announced as the CEO of together1heart after her eight-year involvement in the organization.
In a statement, the “90210” star said, “I joined the fight to end modern-day slavery 8 years ago hoping to rescue those in dire need. At the time, while others would say I was blossoming into a ‘successful’ actress, I was, in fact, deeply unhappy in my private life. Two years ago, I admitted the dark reasons for my unhappiness in a Cosmopolitan magazine tell-all article, describing years of brokenness due to abuse and rape. As it turns out, those I was seeking to save ended up rescuing me.”
McCord continued, “Today, I am proud to say that I’m okay. I am excited to announce that I have taken over as president of together1heart; the newly renamed fiscal sponsor for the ground team working in Cambodia seeking to empower survivors and those vulnerable to human trafficking and sex-slavery with whom I’ve been working for almost a decade. It is my aim and our absolute mission to ‘treating the symptoms.’”
Fellow attendee and board member Shay said that she first learned about the horrors of human trafficking while modeling in Thailand. That exposure inspired the “Pretty Little Liars” actress to get involved with together1heart.
“When I went to Cambodia, it was a lot to process. I saw many children who have never experienced a childhood before coming into Somaly’s centers. I think every child deserves to have a childhood and be carefree.”
She continued, “It’s horrific to hear some of their stories. When we arrived at the Kampong Cham center, the younger girls were running towards us. They had never met us before and had no idea who we were. But they didn’t care. It was just the fact we’d come to visit — that was enough for them to give us a hug. They said, ‘sister, sister.’ That was unconditional love like I’ve never felt before.”
Together1heart pledges to AFESIP Cambodia to achieve their goal of unifying the world in the fight to end modern-day slavery.
Per a press release, “together1heart is taking the lead in the US to help the organization on the ground, AFESIP, raise funds and awareness about sex-trafficking and sexualized violence.”
Photo Credit: Michael Bezjian