LOS ANGELES (August 10, 2010) – The Equal Employment Opportunities Committees of Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) announced today the 8th Annual Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards, recognizing performers and arts organizations who, through their work and activism, have fostered diversity within the entertainment and news media industries and their communities. The theme of the 2010 program is a celebration of those who challenge and change preconceptions. Honorees include actor and artist CCH Pounder (Brothers, Avatar); actor and activist Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar, House, M.D); Deaf West Theatre Company; writer/producer Yvette Lee Bowser (Living Single, Half & Half). The awards will be presented on August 23 at 8 p.m. at the Colony Theatre, 555 North Third Street, Burbank, CA.
Veteran union member actor/artist CCH Pounder (Tri-Union honoree) is being honored for her global work with Arts for a New South Africa and her support of HIV/AIDS awareness programs; Kal Penn (SAG honoree) will be recognized for his groundbreaking achievements as a pioneering Indian American actor in film and television, and also for his diverse advocacy work as a documentary filmmaker focused on malaria eradication in Ethiopia, his service on an advocacy Board of the American Red Cross, and his recently wrapped post as President Barack Obama’s Associate Director of Public Engagement, where he served as liaison to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities; Deaf West Theatre Company (AEA honoree) was selected in recognition of its work to re-conceive outdated definitions of deaf artists; writer/producer Yvette Lee Bowser (AFTRA honoree), the first African-American woman to develop her own primetime television shows, Living Single, and later Half & Half, which were produced under AFTRA contracts, among other producing and writing credits, is being recognized for the success of her shows in encouraging a generation of young adults to reach their full potential and achieve their goals.
Scheduled performances include actress/dancer Zina Bethune and wheelchair artist Lindsay Berkovitz in a signature work from Bethune TheatreDanse actors; Shoshannah Stern and Matt Jaeger; America’s Got Talent semi-finalist Hannibal Means; and performer Mylo Ironbear.
The Ivy Awards were named in honor of actress Ivy Bethune, a veteran member of all three unions who has devoted more than 80 years of her life to civil rights activism and equal opportunity rights. Honorees are selected by a committee of members from each of the three unions. Attendance is free for members of the three unions (space permitting) who RSVP to email@example.com or 323-634-8262.
Previous honorees include Ossie Davis, Edward James Olmos, Robert Guillaume, George Takei, dancer Cheryl Burke, April Webster, Debbie Allen, Beulah Quo, Raven-Symoné, lyricist E. Y. Harburg, Margo Albert, Tim Dang, Will Sampson, Sheldon Epps, broadcasters Beverly White and Belva Davis, and Tony Plana and Wendy Raquel Robinson.
Screen Actors Guild is the nation's largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists' rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 Branches nationwide, SAG represents more than 125,000 actors who work in film and digital motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, industrials, Internet and all new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors' working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists' rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at SAG.org.
Actors' Equity Association ("AEA" or "Equity"), founded in 1913, is the labor union that represents more than 48,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions and provides a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans, for its members. Actors' Equity is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audiobooks, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at www.aftra.com.
Christopher de Haan