BY Advocate Contributors
September 28 2009 6:25 PM ET
Fresh from winning an Emmy for her portrayal of President Allison Taylor on the hit TV series 24, actress Cherry Jones has another award to add to her mantle -- this time for who she is, not who she plays.
Point Foundation, the nation's largest scholarship-granting
organization for LGBT students, gave the Point Courage Award to Jones
at its annual benefit held on September 26 at the Hollywood Renaissance
Hotel in Los Angeles.
"In addition to being one of the most
respected actresses in her profession, Cherry Jones has lived her life
unapologetically as an out lesbian and is a shining example of courage
to all individuals fighting for equality. More importantly, Ms. Jones
gives hope to young people everywhere, including our Point Scholars,"
said Jorge Valencia, executive director of
the Point Foundation.
“It’s humbling beyond words,” says Jones
of accepting the award at the Point Honors Benefit, “because I hadn’t
heard of the Point Foundation until I got the call that I was being
honored -- I don’t know where I’ve been. I may be a Johnny-come-lately, but I plan to be at [the Point Foundation’s] beck and call for the rest of my days.”
Jones learned more about Point, which often helps LGBT students
who have been kicked out of their homes, the nonprofit’s mentor program
stood out. “The mentors really do try to encourage the kids to keep
trying to engage with their families, which to me is almost the most
important thing that a mentor can do for a gay person who has been
shunned by their family,” says the two-time Tony winner. “The most
empowering thing is to persevere: They’ve given up on you, but that
doesn’t mean you have to give up on them.”
Jones also hopes to
become a mentor herself. “My problems is I’m in seven different cities.
... I’d really like to [mentor]; I’m almost old enough where I think I
could,” says the 52-year-old actress.