EEO & Diversity
Get Involved in these EEO Committees and Events:
- EEO Committee
- Performers With Disabilities
- Women and Seniors
- Black History Month
- Diversity Forums, Networking
Actors' Equity Association is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in the American Theatre for actors of color, senior actors, women actors and actors with disabilities by enforcing, protecting and strengthening the equal employment opportunity provisions in all Equity contracts.
Equity encourages and champions increased employment opportunities for actors of every race, color, culture, age, gender, physical disability and sexual orientation, which also reflects the full diversity of American society. This objective is promoted at contract negotiations, diversity forums, special programs and events commemorating the rich cultural diversity of the membership, in communication to the membership and in the formation of industry coalitions. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee, the Seniors Committee, the Women's Committee and the Performers with Disability Committee are the core of Equity's diversity initiatives.
The growth and vitality of the theatrical industry is truly dependent on the inclusion of diverse artists to enrich the classics of the theatrical repertoire and to develop the new works that will be emblematic of the new century.
Want to get involved?
There are a number of Committees and special events here at Equity that are specifically devoted to promoting diversity in the theatrical community:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Committee (EEO Committee): Formerly the Ethnic Minorities Committee and the Committee for Racial Equality, this committee helps develop contract language proposals that pertain to diversity/non-traditional casting and discrimination of actors of color, advise the Council of Equity on issues pertaining to casting opportunities, or the lack thereof, and sponsor various events and awards celebrating the diversity of the Equity's membership.
- Network Event: annually the EEO Committee sponsors informal meetings between institutional casting directors and producers and the membership of Equity. This informal meet-and-greet is designed to break down any type of formal barriers that might exist in the audition situation and for both parties to get to know each other.
- Cultural Celebration: this event, sometimes done in conjunction with our sister unions (Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), commemorates the rich diversity of the entire Equity membership through a panel discussion, a screening or performances.
- Black History Month: annually the EEO Committee also commemorates this national event during the month of February. Two recent programs have included: Black Beauties, a celebration of the historic contributions made by African American female actors/directors/playwrights, to the Broadway scene made by contemporary African American women that are part of contemporary Broadway; The Words of August: A Tribute to August Wilson through performances of this great playwright's poetry, monologues, scenes from his plays along with performances of blues numbers that influenced his work, the committee celebrated this prolific, award-winning playwright.
- Forums: periodically the committee has held informal discussions with the membership in order to ascertain programs, initiatives and events that would like to see plus these events also provide the committee with an opportunity to obtain feedback from members of color.
- The committee also helps to facilitate the diversity outreach efforts by the networks by providing contact information and publicizing these events to the Equity membership.
- The Performers with Disabilities Committees: This tri-union committee (SAG and AFTRA) sponsors informal discussions with casting directors, agents and directors working in the entertainment industry. The mission of this committee is to promote employment opportunities in all phrases of the industry for talented actors who happen to have a disability. Recently this committee sponsored: Creativity & Artists with Disabilities. An industry event that showcased the talents of actors who happen to have a disability and the technological devices that can make places of employment accessible.
- The Seniors Committee: this committee's mission is to promote employment opportunities for senior actors.
- The Women's Committee: this committee's mission is to encourage increased employment opportunities for women Actors. Quite a few years ago this committee sponsored an initiative to increase employment opportunities for female stage managers by sponsoring an event where they had an opportunity to meet with potential employers.
All of the EEO Committees (the EEO Committee, Performers with Disabilities Committee, the Seniors Committee and the Women's Committee) annually awards the Rosetta LeNoire Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the universality of the human experience through either affirmative or non-traditional casting.
We Shall Overcome: Equity's Historic Fight Against Discrimination
AEA Diversity Links:
Paul Robeson Awards
Rosetta LeNoire Awards
Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts
AEA Document of Principal