Fall 2015

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6 SAG-AFTRA | Fall 2015 | K E N H O WA R D A Letter from the President "I found the thing I was meant to do. It is the most important thing I have done in my life and I am in it with my whole heart and soul." for the union cause, although some union leaders have. But I do know that member engagement is crucial. Communicating the messages of our union is central to our continued success. In many ways, we could rest on our laurels. Maybe say to ourselves, "We have succeeded." And in many ways that is true. But it's not the whole story. There still is work to be done. We can only continue our success by continuing our work together. We succeed by organizing, contract negotiation preparation, and collaboration with leaders and members throughout the country. These are powerful initiatives that need your unique contributions right now. Through the work of the President's Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement, we are providing opportunities to empower all SAG-AFTRA members with information, action and deep and lasting bonds with the union. So why do I share this historical tidbit about a great president? It's because of something Roosevelt said a bit later in his speech: "I am in this cause with my whole heart and soul." I recognize that sentiment. I know that feeling of dedication to an important cause. We ask it of ourselves as leaders Dear Member, I t's Oct. 14, 1912, and presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt is campaigning on the Bull Moose Party ticket. Roosevelt is scheduled to deliver a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and as he is walking to the venue, he is shot in the chest. What does he do? Have his aides rush him to the hospital? No. Does he go immediately to see a doctor? No, not that either. Instead, he goes to the podium and delivers the 90-minute speech in his pocket — through which the bullet passed before entering his chest. His first words to the audience after asking for quiet are, "Friends, I don't think you fully realize I've just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose." Now, I take several important lessons from this: First, contrary to my every notion about public speaking, there are apparently times when a very long speech typed on paper and tucked in one's chest pocket might be useful. Second, it is often vitally important to get your message out. Roosevelt thought it was so necessary that he did it with a bullet in his chest. Now, I don't believe that any of us needs to pay that high a price and from you. You can make a meaningful difference simply by being informed and activating your networks, but don't stop there; branch out into other networks, attend meetings, share organizing messages and alerts and tweet and repost SAG-AFTRA messages in social media. Tell everyone you know why it's great to be union and terrific to be a SAG-AFTRA member. I have made that commitment myself because — in between the committee and board meetings, the frequent travel, the writing, planning and reports — I found the thing I was meant to do. In fact, it is the most important thing I have done in my life and, like Theodore Roosevelt, I am in it with my whole heart and soul. I hope you're in it with me. Thank you for your vote. It is my greatest honor to serve as your president. Best wishes for a joyous holiday season. In unity, Ken Howard

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