Winter 2021

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Page 78 of 121 | Winter 2021 | SAG-AFTRA 77 race & Storytelling: African Americans race & Storytelling: Asian American Voices Native American Storytellers: A Legacy & Future Performers with Disabilities: Inclusion, Authenticy & Allyship race & Storytelling: Through the Latino Lens With Disabilities: Inclusion, Authenticity & Allyship on July 28 and Native American Storytellers: A Legacy & Future on Nov. 17 were other PTEOE webinars dedicated to addressing inclusion. Through these conversations, one thing is clear: SAG-AFTRA and performers within these marginalized groups find that more work still needs to be done, and they are more than willing to take action. Authenticity as Personal Responsibility In the past, conversations centering on discrimination have often focused on the difficulty of landing roles. However, for writer-producer Gloria Calderón Kellett and others, an equally important matter is the lack of roles that reflect and normalize a community's real-life experiences. Said Calderón Kellett at the Race & Storytelling: Through the Latino Lens livestream on Oct. 29, "[Communities] are starving for recognition that represents the totality of who [they] are." It is this obstacle and Hollywood's exclusionary history that often still perpetuates harmful stereotypes. It can come in the form of objectification, such as what Through the Latino Lens moderator Amanda Salas called the "spicy Latina" stereotype. Other times, it limits performers to one-dimensional roles or brands whole groups as outliers from what is perceived as the norm. And these issues are not limited to racial ethnicities; the disability community faces its own unique challenges. "We are always fighting for even the opportunity to play ourselves, and that's where our experiences differ from other marginalized communities," said New York Local Board member and New York Local Performers With Disabilities Committee Chair Christine Bruno. "Disability is seen as a technical skill: A bag of tricks or something that can be 'put on.'" In every conversation, each guest agreed that diverse roles need depth and authenticity now more than ever. "For so long, we all have been presented through a very specific lens and image," said Afro-Latino actor Gina Torres. "But, we are so much more than that, and it absolutely has to do with education." Said Native American actor Amber Midthunder, "The goal is to appropriately represent our history and culture and … who we are as people. We walk around, go to the grocery store or the doctor's [office] and all sorts of regular things." You can view the PTEOE Storytelling series and more at

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