Actors' Equity, AFTRA & SAG Announce the 2011 Tri-Union Diversity 'Ivy" Award Recipients

Actors' Equity, AFTRA & SAG Announce the 2011 Tri-Union Diversity 'Ivy" Award Recipients

Los Angeles (Oct 26, 2011) — The affirmative action committees of American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild and Actors’ Equity Association are delighted to announce the 9th Annual Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards, honoring actor/educator Bill Cosby; actor J.R. Martinez; San Diego’s Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company; and disability advocate and dancer Zina Bethune. The event will be held on November 7, 2011 at 8 p.m. at the Nate Holden Theatre Center at 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, 90016. Attendance is free for members of the three unions and their guests.

The Tri-Union Diversity Awards celebrate individuals and organizations in the performing arts that have taken an active stand to make a difference toward a more representational, multicultural community by helping build a foundation for diversity within the industry.

This year, our honorees include four remarkable individuals who have taken up challenges and made a difference in the world.

  • Bill Cosby was chosen by SAG for his groundbreaking work as a performer and for his dedication to educating future generations.
  • AFTRA’s honoree is J.R. Martinez, a disabled vet whose participation in Dancing with the Stars and his role on All My Children have focused attention on and enabled him to dedicate himself to supporting and empowering burn victims and disabled vets.
  • AEA’s honoree is San Diego’s Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company, a nationally recognized, community-focused, socially conscious theater company.
  • This year’s Tri-Union honoree is Zina Bethune, founder of BethuneDanse, the first professional dance theatre in America to create a participatory program for persons with disabilities.
  • The event will be hosted by the incomparable Kim Coles, whose talents ranges from comedienne to motivational speaker.

The evening will begin with arrivals and media coverage at 6:30 p.m., followed by a reception at 7 p.m. The 90-minute ceremony begins promptly at 8 p.m. Parking for the evening is free on the street and in their two lots at Washington and Vineyard. Members of Actors’ Equity, AFTRA and SAG may RSVP to rsvptriunionawards@sag.org.

The Nate Holden Performing Arts Center is a facility of the City of Los Angeles and operated by the Ebony Repertory Theater.

Press and Media Contacts:

Maria Somma, 212-869-8530, ext 425 or 917-560-3488
Actors’ Equity Association

Christopher de Haan, 323-634-8203
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

Pamela Greenwalt, 323-549-6872
Screen Actors Guild

About the Tri-Union Diversity Awards, the Ivys

The Tri-Union Diversity Awards, called the Ivys, are in their ninth year of honoring individuals and organizations that have set exemplary standards for creating a multicultural and representational community within the performing arts, deliberately breaking down barriers and opening doors, generating work for performers across a wider cross-cultural base. 

Honorees are not specifically Tri-Union members, and may include companies or individuals who: 1) by catering to specific underrepresented sectors create work; 2) generate a variety of opportunities for underrepresented performers through culturally blind casting; or 3) use their own breakthrough accomplishments to generate and support new awareness and casting practices.

In 2005, the Tri-Union Diversity Awards were formally named for Ivy Bethune, a tireless member of all three unions who devoted more than 80 years of her life to civil rights activism and equal opportunity rights.

Previous Ivy Award honorees include Ossie Davis (Do The Right Thing), Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), Robert Guillaume (Sports Night), George Takei (Star Trek), Esai Morales (La Bamba), Debbie Allen (Fame), Kal Penn (House), CCH Pounder (Avatar), Tony Plana (Ugly Betty) and Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game) – all artists who have invested their time and energy in programs bringing self-empowerment, creativity and civil rights to our global community.

About Actors’ Equity Association
Founded in 1913, Actors' Equity Association represents more than 49,000 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, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans.  AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions.  Equity is governed by its own members through an elected Council, representing principal actors, chorus actors and stage managers living in three regions: Eastern, Central and Western. Members at large participate in Equity’s governance through a system of regional Boards and Committees.  Equity has 24 designated area liaison cities with over 100 members each.

About AFTRA
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, broadcasters, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, 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.

About Screen Actors Guild
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, corporate/educational, 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.

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