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    Posted May 13, 2009

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The Equal Employment Opportunities Committees of Actors' Equity Association (AEA), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) are delighted to announce the 7th annual Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards, honoring actor and activist George Takei; actor, writer and teacher Dr. Victoria Ann Lewis; dancer Cheryl Burke; and stand-up comedian/storyteller Charlie Hill. The event will be held on June 29, 2009 at 7 p.m. in East West Players' David Henry Hwang Theatre (120 N Judge John Aiso Street in Downtown Los Angeles). Attendance is free for members of the three unions.

Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards celebrate individuals and organizations in the performing arts that have taken an active stand to make a difference toward a more representational, multicultural community by helping build a foundation for diversity within the industry. This year's theme, "Storytellers," commends individuals who, through sharing their own stories, have encouraged cross-cultural understanding as well as enabled others to express their dreams and creativity.

The honorees for 2009 are: Dr. Victoria Ann Lewis (AEA) - writer, actor and teacher who in 1981 established the Other Voices Project at the Mark Taper Forum, dedicated to cultivating and producing writers and performers with disabilities; Cheryl Burke (AFTRA) - dancer who encourages children of all ethnicities to express themselves through movement; Charlie Hill (SAG) - Native American stand-up/storyteller who uses humor to share both things unique to Native American culture and things we all share; and actor George Takei (Tri-Union) for his long-standing history of activism for artists of every race and creed, including his work with the Arts in Transit program that creates opportunity for artists within the public sector.

The evening will begin with media at 6:30 p.m., followed by a reception at 7 p.m. The 90-minute ceremony begins promptly at 8 p.m. Parking for the evening is free in Lot 7, directly behind the theater. Members of Actors' Equity, AFTRA and SAG may RSVP to or 323-634-8262.

Press and Media Contact: Cristina Parker,, c. 917-684-0452 o. 818-836-6030

About the Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards

The Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards are in their 7th year of honoring individuals and organizations that have set an exemplary standard for creating a multicultural and representational community within the performing arts, deliberately breaking down barriers and opening doors, generating work for performers across a wider cross-cultural base.

Honorees are not specifically tri-union members and may include companies or individuals who: 1) by catering to specific underrepresented sectors create work; 2) generate a variety of opportunities for underrepresented performers through culturally-blind casting; or 3) use their own breakthrough accomplishments to generate and support new awareness and casting practices.

In 2005, the Tri-Union Diversity Awards were formally re-named for Ivy Bethune, a tireless member of all three unions who devoted more than 80 years of her life to civil rights activism and equal opportunity rights.

Previous Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Award honorees include April Webster, Tim Dang, Debbie Allen, Raven-Symoné, Robert Guillaume, Ossie Davis, lyricist E. Y. Harburg, Margo Albert, Will Sampson, Beulah Quo, Edward James Olmos and newscasters Beverly White and Belva Davis.

Click here for press release (PDF)

Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards: "Story Tellers" - flyer (PDF)

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