Common Sense Media to Honor Visionaries who are Changing the World for Kids Through Media, and Technology

2016 Common Sense Media Awards will celebrate Zootopia, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Nza-Ari Khepra, Marie Belle Vargas, with Special Guests the Honorable Julián Castro and Tom Wheeler

Common Sense Media
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NEW YORK CITY, New York – Common Sense Media, the nation's leading nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping kids, parents, and teachers thrive with media and technology, today announced the honorees for the 2016 Common Sense Media Awards, to be held at 583 Park Avenue in New York City at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

The Common Sense Media Awards celebrates the visionaries who have embraced media and technology to make the world a better place for kids. This event is Common Sense Media's annual fundraising gala that rotates among San Francisco, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Over the past 11 years, the Common Sense Media Awards have honored some of the most innovative minds in entertainment, public policy, and education technology, from former President Bill Clinton and filmmaker George Lucas to author J.K. Rowling and actor/educator LeVar Burton. This year's honorees are all about making the world a better place through the power of media and technology. The honorees include:

  • Zootopia, Walt Disney Animation Studios' buddy-cop comedy adventure and our honoree for great family media
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy, science educator, CEO of the Planetary Society, and TV personality who has made science cool and engaging for generations of kids
  • Nza-Ari Khepra, founder of the Wear Orange campaign, a leading youth-led violence awareness movement catalyzed by social media
  • Marie Belle Vargas, Library Media Specialist at PS1x, South Bronx and champion of technology integration in the classroom

In addition, special guests The Honorable Julián Castro, Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, champion of the ConnectHome affordable broadband initiative and Tom Wheeler, chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will participate in a live interview with Jim Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media.

"In this always on, 24/7 digital world, our kids need parents, educators, and policy makers to speak out on their behalf to create a world where kids can thrive and learn online," said Jim Steyer. "From finding creative ways to integrate technology into the classroom to mobilizing a gun violence awareness movement, this year's honorees are a group of visionaries and leaders who are embracing media and technology to make the world a better place for kids."

This year's host is Claire Shipman, journalist, public speaker, and co-author of The Confidence Code. Grammy-nominated violinist Robert McDuffie and the PS22 Chorus will perform at the event. The audience attending this year's Common Sense Media Awards will include influential guests representing the worlds of education, government and public leadership, industry, and business. To learn more about the 2016 Common Sense Media Awards, visit

About the Common Sense Media Awards
Since 2004, the annual Common Sense Media Awards have celebrated the visionaries who have embraced media and technology to make the world a better place for kids. All funds raised through this event allow Common Sense to develop and deliver our free parent resources and educational programs to millions of families and schools across America. Today, our groundbreaking digital citizenship curriculum is used in more than half of all U.S. schools, and our ratings and reviews reach more than 100 million households through our website, mobile app, and distribution partnerships. For more information, visit

About Common Sense
Common Sense is the nation's leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a powerful voice for kids and families in the 21st century. Millions of families, educators, and policymakers turn to Common Sense every day to access our independent rating systems, unbiased research, and trusted tools and advice that help them navigate a rapidly changing digital landscape at home and at school. Learn more at

To schedule an interview or inquire about press attendance, please contact:

Press contacts:
Lisa Cohen
[email protected]