OUR STORY BEGINS...
In 1979 Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards wrote and produced the song “We Are Family” for Sister Sledge which went all the way to #1 on the charts.
ON SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001, THAT SONG BECAME MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.
THE RE-RECORD OF WE ARE FAMILY
In a very direct way, the traumatic events of September 11, 2001 revitalized a spirit of unity, solidarity and civic pride among U.S. citizens, and it gave legendary songwriter, producer and musician Nile Rodgers, a New Yorker, the idea to re-record his hit song "We Are Family" written for pop group Sister Sledge in 1979 – with a diverse community of artists, actors, personalities, firefighters, policemen and everyday citizens affected by the tragedy.
Nile, along with Tommy Boy Music President, Tom Silverman, gathered over 200 personalities together just 11 days after the terrorist attacks, all eager to use the song's message and uplifting beat to mobilize the world and commence the healing process. Together they sang one powerful song that is featured in the music video directed by Spike Lee and the documentary The Making and Meaning of We Are Family.
WE ARE FAMILY CHILDREN'S MUSIC VIDEO
More than 100 children’s television characters came together to re-record their version of “We Are Family”. It was the first time in history that normally competitive companies gave their characters to participate in music video together. The 3:11 minute music video first aired on Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and PBS on March 11, 2002, the six-month anniversary of 9/11, to provide a positive message of togetherness. For the next few years, the video continued to air on March 11th - just as a friendly reminder.
WE ARE FAMILY: A MUSICAL MESSAGE FOR ALL
In 2005, WAFF teamed up with A World of Difference Institute® and created a tolerance and diversity curriculum to accompany the We Are Family Children’s Music Video. Thanks to our friends at FedEx, the We Are Family: A Musical Message for All DVD curriculum package was sent to every private and public elementary school in the United States for free.
WE ARE FAMILY SCHOOLS
Between 2004-2010, We Are Family Foundation funded 17 schools across Mali, Malawi, Nicaragua and Nepal providing an education to more than 3,698 students.
OUR GREATEST INSPIRATION
When We first learned of Mattie J.T. Stepanek, an 11-year-old poet and peacemaker with muscular dystrophy and a resume that included 6 New York Times bestsellers, they were struck by his astute observations about human nature and his universal message of hope and peace. His vision of a global family perfectly aligned with WAFF's mission, and they chose him as the first We Are Family Peacemaker Award honoree because of his significant contributions toward promoting a peaceful society, including his belief that in order for there to be peace, one must have all of their basic human needs met: food, water, health, shelter, safety, education and the environment.
When Mattie died in 2004 just before his 14th birthday, his work and message had already inspired millions around the world, and was carried far and wide with the help of his mentors and public media figures including Oprah Winfrey, President Jimmy Carter, Dr. Maya Angelou and Larry King. Mattie's visionary leadership inspired WAFF's Three Dot Dash global teen initiative in 2008, to recognize and support Global Teen Leaders (GTLs) all over the world who are actively working on projects that promote a more peaceful society through addressing solutions to basic human needs.