Actress, activist Holly Robinson Peete to headline annual Unity Banquet

Holly Robinson PeeteCase Western Reserve University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) will present actress, author and humanitarian Holly Robinson Peete as the keynote speaker for its 24th Annual Unity Banquet & Scholarship Benefit.

The event, which recognizes the academic accomplishments of the university’s underrepresented students and graduating seniors, will be held 7 p.m., Friday, April 11, at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights. The theme for this year’s event is “Be the Change.”

The annual fundraiser benefits the mission, activities and services of OMA, which supports the success and retention of all students, with specific attention to African-American, Hispanic and Latino, Native American and Pacific Island students.

From her first appearance on Sesame Street at age 4 to her most recent role on the comedy series Mike & Molly, Robinson Peete has consistently used her celebrity to advocate for issues dear to her heart.

Inspired by her father’s battle with Parkinson’s disease, Robinson Peete, with her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, formed the HollyRod Foundation in 1997 to help improve the quality of life for people with the progressive disorder of the nervous system that gradually affects movement.

The foundation’s mission expanded in 2005 to provide support and resources to those affected by autism after their eldest son was diagnosed with the disorder.

Through the foundation and her family’s personal experiences, Robinson Peete has become an advocate for consistent and reliable education, outreach and support for both Parkinson’s and autism.

In 2010, Robinson Peete released her second book, an NAACP Image Award winning children’s book about autism from the sibling’s perspective, co-authored by 12-year old Elizabeth Peete, titled My Brother Charlie (Scholastic).

OMA’s website can be found at

Banquet tickets are available online for $60 if purchased by March 31 and $75 by April 6. For information, call the Office of Multicultural Affairs at 216.368.2904.