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June 14, 2005

AEA Supports Resolution Honoring Ossie Davis

Eastern Regional Vice President Arne Gundersen appeared before New York City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs on Friday, June 10, 2005 to support the passage of a resolution honoring the life and achievements of actor and activist Ossie Davis.

Sponsored by Councilwoman Yvette Clarke of the 40th District in Brooklyn, the resolution stated, in part: “Mr. Davis was an inspiration to all who saw him perform or watched him take up humanitarian causes for the betterment of his community. The resolution pointed to the legendary actor’s work on stage, in films and television as inspiration and as husband to actress Ruby Dee, he formed one of the greatest teams in entertainment history. Mr. Davis’ activism and his highly visible role as a member of the Civil Rights movement and as an outspoken proponent against apartheid in South Africa were also cited in the resolution.

Mr. Gundersen, in his speech to the City Council, hailed Ossie Davis as one of Equity’s greatest members, who “shared his quiet strength and dignity and incomparable talents” and “paved the road for the next generation of African-American actors, writers and directors. He described Davis as a great humanitarian and outspoken activist for human rights, social justice and the arts. Gundersen recalled Ossie Davis’ absolute support of Actors’ Equity at a meeting held in 2004 with key members of the City Council when the Union was in the middle of a difficult negotiation with Broadway producers. Davis stood in complete support of Equity, calling for what was fair and equitable for the union’s members.

The Committee on Cultural Affairs, chaired by Council Member Domenic Recchia Jr., passed the resolution unanimously. Deputy Majority Leader Pbill Perkins said that the contributions made by Ossie Davis signal the beginning of when the Harlem Renaissance and Black Culture became national events. And Council Member Philip Reed said: “Ossie set a path before anyone knew we should have paths.”

Resolution 829 was sponsored by Council Members Clarke, Foster, Avella, Barron, Brewer, Comrie, Fidler, Gennaro, Gentile, Gerson, Gonzalez, James, Jennings, Katz, Koppell, Liu, Lopez, Maritnez, McMahon, Nelson, Plama, Perkins, Quinn, Sanders Jr., Seabrook, Sears, Stewart, Weprin and Reed.

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