4 things to know about Cincinnati Upstander Awards Headliner Debra Messing

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The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center is proud to announce it will host its Cohen Family Cincinnati Upstander Month, an inspiring month of events featuring family activities and an awards ceremony headlined by actress Debra Messing at historic Union Terminal.

The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center’s Cohen Family Cincinnati Upstander Month in June celebrates and uplifts the change makers in our community. The month of events kicks off with the Upstander Awards Gala on June 2, 6 p.m. at Union Terminal, featuring Debra Messing.

Messing is an Emmy Award-winning actress, producer, and social justice & human rights advocate. Here’s what to know about her work and advocacy:

1. She’s passionate about global health equity.

Messing has worked as Global Health Ambassador for PSI focusing on HIV/AIDS, and has traveled extensively in Africa in support of the organization. She has testified before the House Foreign Affairs sub-committee on Africa and Global Health and spoke at the International AIDS conference. She is now on the founding board of a new organization called The Body Agency Collective, a non-profit that drives healthcare accessibility for women, education, job creation, advocacy, and innovation around the world.

2. Messing is involved with various nonprofits and charities.

Messing supports the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Moms Demand Action, ERA Coalition, ACLU, ADL, The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Marley’s Mutts, amongst many other organizations. She has been honored by the HRC as one of the world’s greatest supporters of the LGBTQ+ community both on screen and off screen, and by The Trevor Project with The Trevor Life Award in recognition of her contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. Messing is also a founding member of the nonpartisan civic engagement organization, i am a voter, and co-hosted the activism-focused podcast, “The Dissenters,” which spotlighted 22 individuals who have made an impact.

3. She boasts an impressive acting career, and recently filmed in Cincinnati with Robert De Niro.

She is best known for her Emmy & SAG Award-winning role as “Grace Adler” on NBC’s Emmy Award winning comedy series “Will & Grace,” and starred in “The Mysteries of Laura,” and “SMASH,” both on NBC. Notable film credits include the award-winning “Searching,” “Along Came Polly,” “The Wedding Date” “Nothing Like The Holidays,” “The Women,” and “The Dark Divide.”

Messing has been honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Women In Film’s Lucy Award, The Gracie Allen Award, American Comedy Award, among 50 more nominations. Most recently, Messing filmed the Warner Brothers mob drama, “Wise Guys,” opposite Robert De Niro.

Messing can be seen in Universal’s feature film, BROS, alongside Billy Eichner. Messing can also be seen in the feature film adaptation of the Broadway musical, “13,” from the producer of “Chicago,” which is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

Messing returned to Broadway to star in the Spring 2022 limited run of Noah Haidle’s new play, “Birthday Candles.” She last starred on Broadway in John Patrick Shanley’s Tony Award-nominated, “Outside Mullingar.”

4. Messing has taken a stand against antisemitism.

Messing has used her platform to stand up to antisemitism in the wake of October 7, and she has shared her own experiences facing antisemitism as a child. Messing grew up in Rhode Island, received her BA from Brandeis University and earned her Masters of Fine Arts from NYU’s The Tisch School of the Arts. She resides in New York City with her son.

The Cohen Family Cincinnati Upstander Month is presented by Duke Energy, the Mayerson Family Foundation, and Procter & Gamble. For more information and to purchase tickets to events, visit www.cincyupstander.org.