Fall 2011

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A LETTER TO MEMBERS From National Executive Director DAVID WHITE Dear Member, of our unique membership. I recently had the good fortune to attend the Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity A " We are most powerful when union members work together." Awards and was struck by this moving tribute to diversity within the three performers' unions — SAG, AFTRA and AEA. The "Ivy's" were named for actor 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. Ivy still auditions, still works and still volunteers her time for her unions. Among this year's celebrated recipients of the Diversity Awards (including the remarkable Bill Cosby and U.S. Iraq War veteran and dancer extraordinaire, J.R. Martinez), the Tri-Union Ivy Award went to Zina Bethune, Ivy's daughter. Over a long and active career, Zina has amassed a list of impressive theater, film and television credits. She has also craſted a resumé that includes founding Theatre Bethune, the first professional dance theater in America to create a participatory program for youth with disabilities to learn and perform dance and drama. Just before her award presentation, the attendees were treated to an exuberant performance by several young people who were members of her theater. As intergenerational members of the Guild, Ivy and Zina are inspirational, having made the fight for equality and diversity a signature focus of their personal and professional lives. To see the daughter receive an award named aſter her mother was a touching homage to two incredible people as well as two amazing actors. In a room full of well-known faces, I found myself almost pushing past people to seek them out and thank them for living their lives as advocates. The Bethunes led by taking action, just as thousands of board and committee members across the country have done and do each and every day on behalf of your Guild. For this, we — your staff — celebrate and thank you. There is another, equally important message in this: We are most powerful when union members work together. As you know, the Guild remains focused on the effort to merge with AFTRA. I can tell you that the members of both unions who are working on this also represent the best of our memberships. They are tireless and have made a significant amount of progress over these recent months. We have accomplished so much individually but we can achieve so much more working together. Despite our many differences, our members consistently demonstrate the essential truth of this statement. It is a privilege to work with and for all of you. I hope that this holiday season holds much joy and happiness (and respite) for you and your family. In unity and looking forward, lthough I frequently use this letter to update you on the Guild's strategy and operations, I'd like to take a moment this time to share my deep appreciation and respect for a couple of individuals who represent the best David P. White 16 SCREEN ACTOR - Fall 2011

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