Spring 2016

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Diversity — or lack of it — is not a new issue in the entertainment industry. The industry has long grappled with ways to equalize the opportunities available to marginalized performers, but as far back as the 1930s, SAG-AFTRA's predecessors, Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA, were pushing boundaries. DIVERSITY SINCE DAY ONE F or example, Clarence Muse, one of the earliest African-American members of the union and a successful actor, wrote a column in the California Eagle in 1937 urging other black actors to join. "The Screen Actors Guild, of which I am a senior and charter member, has made a substantial deal with the producers that protects all actors of all races and creeds," he said. That commitment endures to this day, and the struggle is as relevant as ever. While a lack of diversity has been an ongoing issue, it has recently come into the spotlight once again as a result of the industry-wide #OscarsSoWhite discussion. Even though SAG Awards nominees and honorees reflected the union's rich demographics, the SAG- AFTRA President's Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement and the SAG-AFTRA Diversity Advisory Committee issued a joint statement on Feb. 10, reaffirming the union's commitment to diversity and highlighting the founding principle in the union's constitution: "It is a core value of SAG-AFTRA that our strength is in our diversity. We are committed to the broadest employment and involvement of our members, regardless of race, national origin, ancestry, color, creed, religion, sex, marital Actor Maria Bello and actor-director Paul Feig join a panel discussion about the gender gap in the entertainment industry on March 30. The panel, which was presented by SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles Local Women's Committee, EPIX Network and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, followed a screening of The 4%: Film's Gender Problem, a short documentary highlighting the dearth of female directors.

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