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    Posted December 4, 2009

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DOL Recognizes Performers with Disabilities

L-R: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, AEA-EEO Rep Pearl Brady, PWD Robert David Hall

Expectation + Opportunity = Full Participation: US Dept. of Labor Includes the Performing Arts During National Disability Employment Awareness Month

On October 22nd, Eastern EEO Business Representative Pearl Brady and AEA Councillor Ruth E. Kramer attended a panel discussion sponsored by the US Department of Labor and the DOL's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Moderated by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, the panel included ODEP's Assistant Secretary Kathleen Martinez, Equity Member Fred Michael Beam, and Equity Member and National Tri-Union Performers With Disabilities Committee Chair Robert David Hall.

As it was focused on the performing arts, the panel was illustrative of Sec. Solis' promotion of diversity in all workplaces, including the theatre. The Secretary recognized the performing arts' ability to transform society's perceptions of minority groups, including people with disabilities.

"Events like this highlight the importance of diverse casting that includes performers with disabilities," said Pearl Brady, Equity's Eastern EEO Business Representative. "The tri-union I AM PWD [Inclusion in the Arts and Media of People with Disabilities] national civil rights campaign has been at the forefront of increasing visibility for performers with disabilities in theatre, film, and television, and the effect of our work is being heard. Not only are we seeing more PWDs on screen and onstage, but we're seeing a marked change in thinking from high levels of the federal government.

"Though we have accomplished much, we still have far to go, and I recommend that anyone wishing to learn more about I AM PWD to visit There you will find everything you'll need to get involved."

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