Month to Feature Special Events, Release of Diversity Casting Reports
Los Angeles (September 29, 2009) — Screen Actors Guild announced today that it has declared October “Diversity Awareness Month.” For decades, SAG has been a leader in advocating diverse hiring of underrepresented groups, including ethnic minorities, women, seniors, LGBT actors and performers with disabilities in the entertainment industry.
While the Guild works year round to advance issues of employment diversity, it is shining a spotlight during October on the efforts of its Affirmative Action & Diversity Department, as well as the union’s various diversity committees comprised of SAG members.
“Screen Actors Guild historically and consistently has strived for fairness and diversity both within our Guild and the industry at large,” said Interim National Executive Director David White.
“We are continuously working to make a difference toward a more representational, multicultural community,” White said. “I encourage all of our friends in the creative community to work toward a more diverse and accurate media landscape and invite them to participate in our diversity events in October and throughout the year.”
“Screen Actors Guild’s membership is made up of diverse actors,” said SAG Ethnic Employment Opportunities National Committee Chair Sumi Haru. “It is the media’s responsibility to be a reflection of its diverse audience and our members deserve a fair opportunity to be employed. While we’ve certainly seen improvements in this area over the years, SAG continues in its quest to fully make the media reflective of the American scene.”
In October, SAG will release various diversity-based reports and videos via SAG.org, including the highly anticipated Casting Data Report. This analysis of hiring statistics based on ethnicity/race, age and gender is an instrumental tool used by the entertainment industry.
“Diversity issues in the workplace, such as equal employment and representation as well as prevention of harassment and discrimination, impact all employees on a daily basis,” said National Director/Senior EEO Counsel of SAG Affirmative Action & Diversity Rebecca Yee.
The month features a dozen events either sponsored by SAG or where SAG members are participating in an effort to make visible those who are invisible in media. A full list of events is available online here.
SAG kicked off its celebration on Monday, Sept. 28 with the National President’s Task Force on American Indians Membership Caucus where SAG National President Ken Howard addressed the Guild’s American Indian membership.
Additional highlights of the month include:
Sept. 30 – Reading Between the Lines: Uncovering Unconscious Bias
Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild of America West, Americans for American Values, Kirwan Institute and the Equal Justice Society present a panel discussion on unconscious bias and insights that challenge and inspire new ideas in developing and producing programming that reflects the true diversity of our rapidly changing society. Opening remarks by Norman Lear. Writers Guild of America, West, 7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, California 90048, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 – Out in Hollywood III: The Rise of the LGBT Actor
In celebration of National Coming Out Day, SAG National LGBT Actors Committee and GLAAD present a panel of LGBT actors, director-producers and casting professionals to explore the challenges and opportunities of being out in entertainment. Featuring Mad Men’s Bryan Batt, Oscar-winner Dan Jinks, Emmy-winner Paris Barclay, and more. SAG James Cagney Board Room, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 10 & 11 – National Equality March in Washington, D.C.
SAG National LGBT Actors Committee leads a group of members, staff and allies marching for full federal equality for LGBT people.
Oct. 19 – 18th Annual Access Awards
Los Angeles County Commission on Disabilities and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will present an Access Award to the tri-union (SAG, AFTRA, AEA) I AM PWD campaign for its “leadership, commitment and outstanding contribution for advancing equality and access for people with disabilities.” Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens, Downtown Los Angeles
Oct. 24 – The Hollywood Disabilities Forum
The tri-union I AM PWD campaign, in partnership with WGAW Writers with Disabilities and Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, presents an executive industry conference on accuracy, inclusion and access of people with disabilities in entertainment. UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
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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 over 120,000 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.