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    Posted July 21, 2010

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Tri-Union I AM PWD Campaign Goes Global


LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK (July 20, 2010)Actors’ Equity Association, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild today announced that the International Federation of Actors, also known as FIA (Fédération Internationale des Acteurs), has endorsed the unions’ global I AM PWD campaign.

The tri-union Inclusion in the Arts & Media of People with Disabilities (I AM PWD) campaign is a global outreach and human rights initiative led by people with disabilities to give a voice in entertainment and media to performers and journalists with disabilities who often go unseen and unheard. The resolution achieved the support of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) as the first international co-sponsor of the campaign, and was approved by the full FIA Executive Meeting at its June 26-27 session in Copenhagen, Denmark.

According to the FIA resolution, “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.”

FIA President Agnete Haaland said, “We live in societies where image has become the ultimate value, where glamour, success and happiness are increasingly stereotyped. By accepting this, we marginalize many of our sisters and brothers and end up living in a very sad and empty Wonderland. Trade unions must be on the forefront of social inclusion and the battle against all discrimination. This is perhaps even truer for those unions that operate in the entertainment business, which plays such an important role in moulding social behaviour and generating role models today. We all have a job to do in making sure that our industry is all-inclusive and non-discriminatory. We commend the U.S. actors unions for their I AM PWD campaign and are proud to stand by them in this inspiring drive for human rights and equality."

AEA President Nick Wyman said, “People with disabilities have an enormous contribution to make to our lives and to our understanding of the human condition. We are delighted at FIA's support of our joint effort with SAG and AFTRA to lower and remove the barriers to those contributions, and we welcome our ACTRA brothers and sisters as our first international partner in our IAMPWD campaign.”

Reardon, Howard and AEA 2nd Vice President Rebecca Kim Jordan were joined by ACTRA National President Ferne Downey in sponsoring the resolution to the FIA executive meeting.“ACTRA is proud to step up and stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and brothers who have created this vital campaign,” said Downey. We have been fighting for many decades to have our screens reflect the true diversity of society. The IAMPWD campaign is doing tremendous work, and we will take our collective efforts on behalf of the differently-abled to the next level. ”

In remarks delivered to the delegation, Howard said, “Many of you in the audience today represent countries that make up the 140 nations signed to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We hope you will also show your support for performers with disabilities by endorsing our campaign and working with us to broadly expand awareness of performers with disabilities.”

About FIA

The International Federation of Actors (FIA) is an international non-governmental organization representing performers’ trade unions, guilds and associations around the world. It voices the professional concerns and interests of actors (in film, television, radio, theatre and live performance), broadcast professionals, dancers, singers, variety and circus artists and others, with the exception of musicians and visual artists. FIA is a strictly a-political organization, committed to an equal opportunities policy, regardless of gender, race, color, ethnic/national origin, religious beliefs, sexuality, age or marital status.

About I AM PWD

I AM PWD is a global civil rights campaign seeking equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities throughout the entertainment and news media. I AM PWD was founded by members of Screen Actors Guild, AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association to bring media and public attention to the issues of media access, inclusion and accuracy for people with disabilities. You can visit I AM PWD online at IAMPWD.org.

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