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    Posted November 4, 2010

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Equity, AFTRA, SAG Present Diversity Awards

Deaf West Theatre Selected by Equity

The Equal Employment Opportunity Committees of AEA, AFTRA and SAG presented their annual Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards at the Colony Theatre in Burbank, California on August 23, 2010. The Awards recognize performers and arts organizations who, through their work and activism, have fostered diversity within the entertainment and news media industries and communities. They are named for Ivy Bethune, a veteran member of all three unions (and longtime member of Equity's Western Regional Board), who has devoted more than 80 years of her life to civil rights and equal opportunity.

Equity's honoree, Deaf West Theatre Company, was recognized for its work to re-conceive outdated definitions of deaf artists. Emmy Award-winning director and longtime supporter, Joe Sargent, presented the Award to Deaf West Artistic Director, Ed Waterstreet. Founded in 1991, Deaf West Theatre is recognized as the premiere sign language theatre in the United States and has received many awards for its work, including a 2004 Tony for Excellence presented to the cast of BIG RIVER.

The AFTRA honoree, writer/producer Yvette Lee Bowser, is the first African-American woman to develop her own primetime television shows, Living Single and Half & Half, which encouraged a generation of young adults to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. Kal Penn, SAG's honoree, has been recognized for his groundbreaking achievements as a pioneering Indian American actor in film and television and also for his advocacy work as a documentary filmmaker focused on malaria eradication in Ethiopia, his service on an advocacy Board of the American Red Cross and his recent post as President Obama's Associate Director of Public Engagement, where he served as liaison to the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.

Veteran union member actor/artist CCH Pounder, the Tri-Union honoree, has been honored for her work with Arts for a New South Africa and her support of HIV/AIDS awareness programs.

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