In his latest “fireside chat,” SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance offered a history lesson to help weather the multiple storms now lashing the nation and the industry’s unemployed workforce. “Whether it be the fight for racial justice that is happening in Minneapolis and communities all across the country, the effects of the Pandemic we’ve watched take hold of our hospitals and neighborhoods or the distress many of us are facing in our homes as we combat financial instability and compromised health; there’s a lot of fear and pain in our world right now,” he said.
See his 11th fireside chat here:
Here is more from Vance’s talk:
“And while things may seem overwhelming and enormous, remember we are not powerless to enact positive, systemic change. Our country was founded, sustained itself and endured on the power of people coming together for common causes: the American Revolution; the Civil War, slavery and Lincoln’s assassination, the Native American genocide, lynching, World War I, the Depression, Pearl Harbor and World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, the ’60s assassinations, the Vietnam War, Watergate, and on and on.
“That common bond allows us to ride through the storms of life that happen. We are in a storm now. But we’ve been in storms before and we will see better days ahead. But this thing called Democracy only works if we are engaged in the struggle together. That means taking care of each other, looking out for the most vulnerable, and showing up where and when it counts. So if you’re able to lend a hand to somebody who needs it, do so. And if you need help, ask for it. There’s no shame in it, because that’s what families and communities do – they rise to the occasion. They meet the moment. They make sure everyone is healthy, safe, living each day with dignity, and that no one is left behind.
“As artists and as humans in this world that we all share, remember both your words and your actions can be very impactful. How you collaborate in solidarity with each other is very crucial. We each have the tools to make a difference – to love, to help, to heal. So if you’re in the position to do so, with good health and conscience, ask yourself how you can best be of service to others – and then stand and deliver!”
To date, he said, the Foundation has delivered $4.9 million in emergency financial aid to SAG-AFTRA members who are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic, “with a few hundred applications still in process. This is an encouraging response to a bleak situation, and we’re going to continue to get you aid as quickly as we can.” Applications for assistance are currently taking about a week to process. “Hang in there,” he said. “It’s gonna get better.”
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