Among those spotted in the crowd when actor Sean Penn spoke at the Brookings Institution on Monday was his longtime friend Rep. Dennis Kucinich.
The Ohio Democrat and the Oscar winner are close pals, and they are often spotted together whenever Penn is in town. The pair were eyed dining at Bistro Bis last year, and in March, Kucinich gave the actor a tour of the Capitol.
But the pair weren’t just catching up Monday. Penn came to Brookings to deliver a speech on the situation in Haiti, one year after a devastating earthquake struck the island nation, killing hundreds of thousands of people and leaving millions homeless. Penn founded a nongovernmental relief organization to tackle the crisis and has traveled to the impoverished nation to help with the efforts.
He urged Americans to continue to support Haiti, noting recovery is possible but requires patience. He even compared running an NGO like his to producing a film, saying both involve dozens or even hundreds of different players working together.
“The stakes are ... higher, but the process is the same,” Penn said.
Kucinich’s wife, Elizabeth, also attended the event.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.