Our glorious former first lady will add another thing to her exemplary list of accomplishments, this time in television! CNN’s We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission is among the fantastic list of this year’s honorees for the 10th Annual Television Academy Honors!

The awards recognize programming that explores and confronts significant issues facing our society in a compelling and impactful way, and acknowledges showrunners and producers who tackle complex social challenges to advance change. This year’s honorees represent a wide range of issues including climate change and the environment, reproductive rights, race and racism, criminal justice, disabilities, prejudice, parenting, body image, education and women’s rights.

Presented by CNN Films, We Will Rise: Michelle Obama followed Mrs. Obama when she was the current First Lady at the time, along with Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto and CNN’s Isha Sesay as they embarked on a journey to Morocco and Liberia, where they met young women overcoming incredible odds to change their lives.

“With a constant presence in people’s daily lives, television consistently demonstrates its ability to power social change. The six honorees have effectively leveraged the medium to raise awareness of complex issues,” noted Television Academy Chairman and CEO Hayma Washington. “We are honored to acknowledge storytellers producing meaningful television that provokes important conversations.”

Eligible programs for this year’s Television Academy Honors aired during the 2016 calendar year and were submitted in the fiction/nonfiction categories as whole series, single episodes or story arcs up to three episodes. Television movies, limited series and fiction/nonfiction specials were also eligible to apply.

Recipients will be recognized at a special presentation and reception hosted by actress, producer and activist Dana Delany at the Montage Beverly Hills on Thursday, June 8. Congrats to Mrs. Obama and the crew of this important documentary!

 

Full List of This Year’s Recipients:

Before the Flood (National Geographic) − Academy Award-winning director Fisher Stevens teamed with Academy Award-winning actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio to create a film centered on protecting the planet. Hailed as “a rousing call to action,” the film displays a riveting account of the dramatic changes occurring around the world due to climate change and advocates for the actions we can take to prevent its catastrophic disruption. (A RatPac Documentary Films Presentation of an Appian Way Production in association with Insurgent Docs & Diamond Docs)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) − This season, viewers were entertained by engaging, deeply researched stories, presented in unorthodox ways; the series also has brought topics that might have escaped the audience to the forefront. One of these topics includes reproductive rights, specifically addressing how availability to safe abortion options for American women has already been dangerously reduced or denied in several states through loopholes and technicalities in the laws. (Produced by HBO Entertainment in association with Sixteen String Jack Productions and Avalon Television)

The Night Of (HBO) − This eight-part limited series delves into the intricacies of a murder case in New York City that addresses what happens to suspects in the American criminal justice system, and whether they committed the crime or not. The series brings the inner workings, flaws and life-changing effects of the justice system into focus and touches on issues of race, religion and class. (Produced by HBO Entertainment in association with BBC, Bad Wolf Productions and Film Rites)

Speechless (ABC) − This family-centered comedy tells the story of JJ Dimeo, a young man with cerebral palsy, and addresses how his family fights injustices both real and imagined. The show explores life with disability and the challenges and joys that come with it, including searching for independence, respect and finding a voice. (Produced by 20th Century Fox Television)

This Is Us (NBC) − A provocative ensemble drama, This Is Us follows the stories of a family at different stages in their lives. The emotionally honest, intergenerational drama explores an array of topics including marriage, abortion, racial identity, body image, the challenges of transracial adoption, and hurdles of parenting in a way that creates an open dialogue. (Produced by 20th Century Fox Television)

We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission (CNN) – Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto and CNN’s Isha Sesay take an unforgettable journey to Morocco and Liberia, where they meet young women overcoming incredible odds to better their lives. The program creates a platform for these courageous women to tell their stories. (Produced by CNN Films and The Documentary Group)

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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a screenwriter/director with cheeks you want to pinch... but don't (unless she wants you to). She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre.

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