By Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN
the duke and duchess of sussex have said “we know a wave of hope can become a wave of change” after they were honored in New York for their work on racial justice and mental health.
prince harry Y Megan were in the Big Apple to receive the 2022 Ripple of Hope award Tuesday night from the Robert F. Kennedy human rights organization (RFKHR).
The award honors “exemplary leaders in government, business, advocacy, and entertainment who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to social change and have worked to advance equity, justice, and human rights,” according to organizers.
The couple stopped briefly on the blue carpet to pose for photographers before entering the event. They didn’t stop to speak to the media or answer reporters’ questions about their upcoming Netflix documentary series, which premieres on the streaming platform on Thursday.
During the black-tie event, the Sussexes announced a new collaboration between their own non-profit organization and RFKHR.
“We are honored to receive the RFK Ripple of Hope Award this year and to partner with the Kennedy family in creating the Archewell Foundation Award for Gender Equity in Student Film,” the couple said in a statement. “Our hope with this award is to inspire a new generation of leadership in the arts, where diverse emerging talents have a platform to have their voices heard and their stories told.
“The values of the RFK Foundation and the Archewell Foundation are aligned in our shared belief of courage over fear and love over hate. Together we know that a wave of hope can become a wave of change.”
RFKHR President Kerry Kennedy said the organization chose to honor the couple because it was “proud of their work on racial justice and parity and mental health awareness” and for “showing up when people really need them.”
He added: “If you look at the last two years, hospitals, universities, governments, even Hollywood, they have all dealt with issues of racial justice, gender, sexual minorities, etc. to start talking and normalize this discussion.”
Later during the gala, Prince Harry joked with the crowd during an onstage Q&A about how he thought the couple had left their children at home for a “date night.”
“To be honest with you, Kerry, I actually thought we were just going on a date night. So it seemed quite strange that we were sharing a room with 1,500 people,” the duke joked in a short clip provided by the gala organizers.
“We don’t go out much because our children are very small and young, so this is completely unexpected,” she added. “But it’s nice to share date night with all of you.”
As the audience laughed, Meghan chimed in: “Thank you for inviting me to this very special night.”
Hosted by actor Alec Baldwin, the annual gala also recognized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky; Frank Baker, co-founder and managing partner of the private equity firm Siris; Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan; and Michael Polsky, founder and CEO of Invenergy. NBA legend and civil rights activist bill russell he was also honored posthumously.
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CNN’s Max Foster, Julian Cummings and Sabrina Souza contributed to this report.