The honor was given out on March 7 at the 11th annual Children Uniting Nations Academy Award Night Fund-Raising Gala, which doubles as an Oscar viewing party.
The eldest and the youngest of the Jackson siblings were watching the ceremony from the Beverly Hilton hotel’s international ballroom when the image of their late brother appeared during the show’s “In Memoriam” tribute.
“When I saw his picture – that was hard, it brought tears,” she told People.com. “We miss him so much,” she told the crowd, “and we know you do too.”
Backstage after receiving the award, Rebbie said she took a moment to compose herself.
“I got very emotional afterward,” she says. “But I was very pleased and happy to be a part of this – Michael was very passionate about children and supporting their causes. Boy he would have loved this,” she said, smiling. “I’m grateful and thankful to all these people.”
It’s been nine months since Jackson’s death. Asked how else they planned on preserving her brother’s legacy, Rebbie says that’s not the focus.
“We’re just trying to be a family and get ourselves through all of it – it has been so much,” says Rebbie. “I’m just trying to stay positive. But other than that, Michael’s kids are fine.”
She added her mother Katherine is “hanging in there” and enjoying spending time with her grandchildren. “Her favorite thing as a grandma is for everyone to come over and play games; especially Pictionary. All the time. Everyone gets involved and we all act silly. She’s a mother every day and she always supports the kids.”
Below, from 1994, Rebbie’s biggest hit “Centipede” — written by Michael Jackson.