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Members Of NYC's Theatre Community Salute Black Lives Matter With New Public Service Announcement

The PSA will be available on YouTube and on EAG's Facebook and Instagram pages, February 1.

Members Of NYC's Theatre Community Salute Black Lives Matter With New Public Service Announcement

As part of its commitment to racial equity and inclusion, the Episcopal Actors Guild (EAG) is premiering its original public service announcement, EAG Loves BLM, on Monday, February 1, 2021. The PSA will be available on YouTube and on EAG's Facebook and Instagram pages. EAG invites you to share or post the PSA on your own social media.

The PSA features a diverse group of EAG members coming together to share personal stories of racism and discrimination. The stories in the PSA emerged during EAG's Sustainable Conversations, a monthly online discussion centered around race and racism in America and the arts. This safe space for conversation that can live and breathe beyond the current moment was created at the suggestion of and in close collaboration with actress and writer Helena-Joyce Wright (Zora Is My Name!, Amen Corner, Jerry's Girls, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill). The 4-minute video acknowledges the work that still needs to be done and affirms the organization's support of racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. EAG Loves BLM was conceived by actor Chris Chinn (Confesión en El Barrio Chino) and edited by noted theatre photographer Ahron R. Foster.

"I didn't know exactly what Sustainable Conversations would be," said Wright, "I only knew that I wanted to create a space--a safe space--for people with very differing views to share. I took the idea to one of my favorite people on the planet, Karen Lehman Foster, and the amazing team at the Episcopal Actors' Guild and this idea became reality. I'm proud of what we've created. Our forum gives me hope! It's a microcosm of these United States, and conversations on race can be uncomfortable and challenging, but, if this group of Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, straight, gay, trans, conservative, liberal, Christian, Jew, and every group in between can do it... so can this entire world!"

"The subject was Black Lives Matter, and people were sharing these very honest personal stories with virtual strangers, admitting to their own racism and racist thoughts, and acknowledging how they were trying to work that out of their systems. It was so brave and such a learning experience. Someone suggested that one way to show our support for BLM would be to share testimonial videos on social media. And I thought, wouldn't it have a bigger impact if we, EAG members, create one video? A single video quickly intercutting several of these stories might be more powerful while still being heartfelt," said Chinn.

After producing the EAG Loves BLM PSA, Chinn was named chair of EAG's newly appointed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. This committee will engage with the EAG staff and Council members to uphold the organization's DEI commitments. It will also work to identify and recommend ways that EAG can continue to improve on these vital issues.

In June 2020, the staff and governing Council of EAG met online to discuss and adopt a platform to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion, both within the organization itself and in the performing arts community it serves. EAG acknowledges that, through the centering of the experiences of the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities, people with disabilities, and other historically marginalized populations, the organization can better assist all its clients and members through its charitable programs and services. To learn more about the DEI commitments EAG has made, please visit www.actorsguild.org/equity-inclusion-and-diversity.

EAG's next Sustainable Conversation is scheduled to happen on Zoom on Monday, February 22 at 7:00 PM EST. Anyone interested in participating in this meeting can register to attend for free at ticketstripe.com/eag-sustainable-coversations-feb22.

EAG members participating in the PSA: Amelia V. Anderson*, Marc Baron, Nica Buescher, Tom Cahill, Elowyn Castle, Chris Chinn*, Anstice Carroll*, Ruthann Daniels*, Bernadette Fiorella*, Ahron R. Foster, Karen Lehman Foster**, Jennifer Fouché*, Suzannah Grady*, Janice Hass, Steven Hayes*, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson*, Evangeline Johns*, Rachel Leslie, Rebecca Lovett**, Omar M'Sai, Damon Maher, Ibeth Massari, Leslie Middlebrook*, Zoe Morsette, Anthony Newfield*, Marci Occhino, Maya Pruitt, Betsy Ross*, Camille Savitz, John Schalter, Sally Sherwood*, Leslie Shreve*, Fran Sisco, Leodis Smith, Lin Snider, Jamie Soltis**, Father John Van Dooren*, Peter Von Berg*, Craig Wichman, Helena-Joyce Wright.

*member of EAG's governing Council/Board of Directors, **member of EAG's staff



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