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SAG, AFTRA, Actors' Equity 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.

Click here to RSVP.

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. Click here to RSVP.

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

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.