ACTRA, AEA, AFTRA & SAG Launch New I AM PWD Video

ACTRA, AEA, AFTRA & SAG Launch New I AM PWD Video

Canadian Actors Produce New Video Promoting Workplace Accessibility

LOS ANGELES, TORONTO, NEW YORK (April 6, 2011) – The Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today launch their new “Inclusion in the Arts & Media of People with Disabilities” (I AM PWD) disability rights video: http://www.youtube.com/user/ACTRANational

“Canada’s professional performers are thrilled to be united with our U.S. sisters and brothers on this vitally important diversity initiative. We hope that producing and launching this video online will kick-start more conversation about diversity on screens of all sizes," said ACTRA’s National President Ferne Downey.

“There are a multitude of stories yet to be told from our industry's rich and diverse backgrounds,' said AEA President Nick Wyman. “People with Disabilities are the largest minority in the United States and Canada, and they have an enormous contribution to make to our lives and to our understanding of the human condition. Through the I AM PWD Campaign, we are working to lower the barriers to those contributions.”

“Entertainment and news media have a responsibility to entertain and inform audiences, and to accurately reflect our society’s diversity,” said AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon. “We are pleased to be moving forward with our tri-union global I AM PWD campaign to raise awareness and encourage equal employment for the persons with disabilities who work in our industries. We are delighted that our Canadian sisters and brothers at ACTRA are contributing this excellent new video initiative to the campaign.” 

Screen Actors Guild National President Ken Howard said, “Our I AM PWD campaign has helped us shine a light on the challenges many performers with disabilities face in our industry.  From getting auditions to being cast, there are significant barriers. Our partnership with ACTRA and this wonderful PSA they have produced, are helping us build momentum on behalf of performers with disabilities and an even more representative on-screen depiction of our diverse society.” 

The I AM PWD campaign is a human rights initiative to increase the visibility and equal employment opportunities for entertainment workers with disabilities. At the June 2010 FIA Executive Meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, ACTRA was the first international co-sponsor to join this campaign. The following resolution was approved: “Unions affiliated with FIA are urged to bargain to ensure that performers with disabilities can request reasonable accommodations without the fear of losing their jobs; to free people with disabilities from real and virtual discrimination; and to allow people with disabilities to compete equally for job opportunities without facing bias or exclusionary practices.” 

About I AM PWD
I AM PWD is a global civil rights campaign seeking equal employment opportunities for artists and professionals with disabilities throughout the entertainment and news media. Founded in 2008 by the Actors Equity Association (AEA), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG), I AM PWD is dedicated to ending the discrimination and exclusion of performers and broadcasters with disabilities. I AM PWD is uniting labor, industry, community and governmental allies in the fight to combat continuing discrimination against people with disabilities. IAMPWD.org.

Contacts:
Pamela Greenwalt, SAG, (323) 549-6872, pgreenwalt@sag.org    
Christopher de Haan, AFTRA, (323) 634-8203, cdehaan@aftra.com
David Lotz, AEA, (212) 869-8530, dlotz@actorsequity.org
Carol Taverner, ACTRA, (416) 644-1519, ctaverner@actra.com

© 2008 I AM PWD. All Rights Reserved