Celebrities highlight humanitarian causes on Capitol Hill

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A-list actors Seth Rogen and Ben Affleck testified before separate U.S. Senate committees to draw attention to issues dear to them

A-list actors Seth Rogen and Ben Affleck testified before separate U.S. Senate committees to draw attention to issues dear to them

WASHINGTON D.C. - Hollywood’s elite added the power of celebrity to humanitarian causes on Capitol Hill.

A-list actors Seth Rogen and Ben Affleck testified before separate U.S. Senate committees Wednesday to draw attention to issues dear to them. Rogen used the opportunity to highlight the challenges in Alzheimer’s awareness and funding, while Affleck spoke just rooms away on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“Our work in DRC is not finished. We cannot risk diminished U.S. leadership at a time when lasting peace and stability are within reach,” Affleck told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The DRC has seen marked improvement since the M23 rebel group surrendered its arms in November, but the carefully won gains in the country must be protected, said the Oscar winner.

“The Congolese people have been struck time and again by conflict, poverty and disease, and by an international community who looked upon Congo and called it hopeless. I hope you can see that it is not.”

Affleck is the founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, a non-profit organization that assists the people of eastern Congo.

Speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee on a vastly different topic, Rogen recalled his mother-in-law’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, and how that led him to spread awareness of the disease.

“After forgetting who she and her loved ones were, my mother-in-law, a teacher for 35 years, then forgot how to speak, feed herself, dress herself, and go to the bathroom herself. All by the age of 60,” recalled Rogen.

Seeing the disease slowly tear away his mother-in-law, he, along with wife Lauren Miller, founded Hilarity for Charity, a charity that raises money for research, and educates youth about the disease.

The actor and comedian called on the U.S. government to do its part in the battle against Alzheimer’s.

“People look to their government for hope, and I ask that when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, you continue to take more steps to provide even more.”

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