Hallmark star Holly Robinson Peete’s non-profit foundation, the HollyRod Foundation, received a coveted award on Saturday, January 14, 2023. The King Center presented the foundation with the Yolanda D. King Higher Ground award.
Peete Said She Was ‘Beyond Honored’
On Twitter, Peete said that she and her husband, Rodney Peete, were accepting the award. “We are beyond honored,” she wrote.
She later shared pictures from the event and wrote: ” Wow! ✨ @RodneyPeete9 & I could not think of a more meaningful and blessed way to celebrate the 94th birthday of #martinlutherkingjr #mlkday2023 than to be honored by his daughter @berniceaking at the @thekingcenter #BelovedCommunityAwards for @HollyRodFDN…”
According to its website, The King Center’s mission is to “empower people to create a just, humane, equitable and peaceful world by applying Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and methodology (Nonviolence365).” Coretta Scott King established the center in 1968 to be a “living memorial” to Martin Luther King, Jr., focused on carrying out the causes he loved. Today, Bernice A. King — daughter of Martin and Coretta Scott King — is the CEO.
The King Center’s Beloved Community Awards are designed to honor individuals and organizations that “exemplify excellence in leadership, pursue social justice, and are committed to creating the Beloved Community.”
Peete’s organization’s inclusion in the awards was announced in December 2022. In January 2021, Lady Gaga received the same award that Peete’s foundation received, ET Canada reported. In January 2022, Simone Biles was honored with the award.
The HollyRod Foundation Supports Parkinson’s & Autism
The HollyRod Foundation was started in 1997 in honor of Holly’s father after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at 45, according to the website. Matthew T. Robinson, Jr. was the first actor who played the role of Gordon on “Sesame Street.”
The foundation began by focusing on advocacy and care for families whose loved ones had Parkinson’s. After Peete’s son, RJ, was diagnosed with autism, the foundation was expanded to also support families of those with autism.
The website notes: “We advocate for ethical treatment, inclusion and access to services and treatment of individuals living with autism or Parkinson’s Disease with the goal of empowering them to live their best lives.”
In December 2021, Peete starred in Hallmark’s “Our Christmas Journey,” about a single mom and her teenaged son with autism. The main character was portrayed by an actor who is on the autism spectrum himself, Nik Sanchez.
The movie’s synopsis reads: “As a single mom (Peete) and her teenaged son with autism (Sanchez) come to a crossroad during Christmas, she must learn to let go so he can flourish and finds her own heart healing in unexpected ways.”
Peete wrote on Twitter about Sanchez’s role in the movie: “There was not one chance I was going to executive produce a film about #autism without proper representation.”
She also said on Twitter about the movie: “I’m just overwhelmed w/ emotion because I have wanted to make a movie about an #autism family making transitions at #Christmas for a while.”
She said in a statement about the film: “I am making this movie for my son RJ, others with autism and their families. I am grateful to Hallmark for bringing this story to screen with authenticity, respect and hope.”
R.J. Peete was diagnosed in 2007, People reported. In September 2021, Peete said he worked as a clubhouse attendant for the Los Angeles Dodgers, which was his “dream job.”
She wrote on Twitter: “I’ll forever be indebted to @Dodgers for hiring him 6 seasons ago. This clubhouse attendant job gave him confidence, purpose & FRIENDS. when RJ was 3 we were told he’d never have meaningful employment … Whenever I counsel parents who just received an #autism diagnosis I say start immediately to build a team around your child that will help him through life never imagining that RJ‘s team would include the Dodgers. The players are so good to him and treat him like a little bro…”