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Mariska Hargitay and Her Kids Just Lit Up the Empire State Building: Details

Olivia Benson teamed up with another NYC icon! 

By Elizabeth Logan

Much like her Law & Order: Special Victims Unit character, Captain Olivia Benson, actress and executive producer Mariska Hargitay is a crusader in the fight against sexual violence. Through her Joyful Heart Foundation, Hargitay works to fight sexual violence in all forms, always and especially in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

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To that end, the NYC icon that Hargitay teamed up with another New York landmark, the Empire State Building, to light the city up in teal.

Mariska Hargitay lit up the Empire State Building with her kids: details 

On Friday, April 5, Hargitay turned on the skyscraper's lights to teal, the signature color of the Joyful Heart Foundation, and made remarks. She was joined by two of her kids, August and Amaya, for the moment. The teal color of the Empire State Building will be visible to the public on Saturday, April 6. 

See Hargitay's Empire State Building moment for yourself, below: 

"This is a big one, guys," you can hear Hargitay say to her kids before they pull the lever to light up the building. 

Joyful Heart Foundation works on projects and initiatives related to domestic violence, trauma, and sexual assault, and one of its signature programs is the End the Backlog campaign, which identifies and tests the hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits sitting in evidence rooms and labs across America.

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Mariska Hargitay holds up her People's Choice Award.

Why Mariska Hargitay started the Joyful Heart Foundation

Hargitay became interested in using her platform for activism when doing research for her role as Benson, where she first encountered the sobering statistics around the rates of sexual violence in the U.S. As the show and character gained popularity, victims and survivors felt that they could turn to Hargitay to share their stories, further spurring her to take action.

"I obviously had my role to play on television, but I felt a great responsibility to these brave women and men and wanted them to know that they had been heard and that they could have hope. I studied the subject, trained to become a crisis counselor and used my visibility as an actress to become an advocate. I knew I wanted to play a role in healing that pain, ending the isolation, and honoring the great courage survivors were showing by reaching out for help," Hargitay reflected for the JHF Founder's Corner page.

RELATED: Mariska Hargitay and Her Husband Will Be Awarded a Major Honor for This Special Cause

She continued, "Even though the landscape around these issues has changed so dramatically—thanks both to years of advocacy and to many brave new voices—we all know that it takes courage for a society to turn towards these issues, to risk talking about them. I am proud to stand with survivors, advocates and members of the criminal justice community to send a powerful message to other survivors: ‘We hear you. You have suffered enough. Your healing—and pursuit of justice—are our priorities.’"