- (Photo: The Christian Post/Ivana Kvesic)
NEW YORK - Restore NYC, a faith-based nonprofit created in 2006 to help rebuild the lives of foreign-born survivors of sex trafficking in New York City, celebrated its third annual gala Tuesday night and artists Amy Lee, Paula Cole, and Ashley Arrison were on hand to perform at the event.
The Christian Post attended the event at New York City's City Winery in downtown Manhattan and had the opportunity to speak to the three vocalists about why they volunteered to perform for Restore NYC and what faith has to do with their music.
"I got inspired by Restore when I found out about it – I think it's been two years now. My husband and I have both been really passionate about it," Lee, of Evanescence, told CP. "This year they were trying to find someone and I was like, ' you know what I want to do this and I am going to call some really cool friends who might sing with me.'"
"Anything we can do to help shine a on light what's going on here in New York and all over the world, we're very happy to do that," Lee said.
Both Arrison and Cole heard about the event through Lee and became inspired to participate in Restore NYC's annual gala after learning more about sex trafficking.
"I'm an advocate for supporting women and helping us be equal in the world. So when I heard about all of these statistics that there are more slaves now than at any other time, and that 80 percent of them are women and its generally sexual slavery, I was just dumbfounded," Cole, who won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1998, told CP.
"This cause needs consciousness. This needs attention so I'm very proud to be shining a light on this cause," the singer and songwriter added.
When asked about the spiritual message of their music, the artists all shared that creating and performing music can have spiritual meaning.
"I feel moved and I write – you get inspired and write something. I definitely think it (my music) has a spiritual message," Lee told CP.
"I definitely felt humbled and felt some spirit tonight, and that's a good thing. Anything that brings us back together and brings us back down to earth and makes us look outside ourselves is a good thing," Lee said.
"Music is a responsibility," Cole suggested. "I feel a spirit moving through me when I sing and I feel it moving to the audience and it's just an amazing connection and it heals and it elevates, and to me that's the whole point."
"I'd like to think that's why we chose the particular songs – the songs that are the most emotional or real so when people respond and connect with that – that is spiritual and that is healing. That's why music is created in the first place," Arrison told CP.
Hundreds of young professionals, artists, and philanthropists were in attendance for Restore's annual Freedom Gala.
The organization, which opened the first ever long-term safe house for foreign-born survivors of sex trafficking on the eastern seaboard, also held a silent auction and raffle at the event to raise funds to enable the organization to continue providing long term housing and culturally and linguistically tailored holistic care to its clients.
Executive Director Jimmy Lee was also on hand for the event at City Winery and spoke about the mission of Restore and his vision for the organization over the next several years.
Restore is currently working on opening a second safe house for survivors of sex trafficking and continues to diligently work to be "more than just a shelter, but a loving a secure home that all victims of trafficking need," according to Lee.