SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance, in his latest “fireside chat,” is calling for calm amid nationwide protests that have frequently turned violent and destructive. “I know many of you are feeling the pain and frustration of what has happened in Minneapolis and other parts of the country,” he said today. “I feel it too, and have every intention of keeping the spirit and memory of George Floyd in both my heart and my actions.”
“So I am asking us to go high,” he said, paraphrasing former First Lady Michelle Obama. “I am asking us to fight for George without resorting to violence. There is no doubt we have witnessed, again, a horrific injustice, but we must not cross the line and lose the moral high ground we need to ensure justice for the Floyd family.
“I am calling for calm, so we can focus all of our energies on a call to action. We must channel our anger and frustration to enact real and lasting change. We must put a movement together where our faith can be restored and justice served. Let us practice peaceful, nonviolent protest, rather than civil unrest. Let us continue the ‘Drum Beat of Justice’ for George Floyd as we mobilize for the right that all of our ancestors fought and died for – the right to vote.”
See his fireside chat here:
“Our call to action,” he said is to “mobilize to show those who would silence us that we know where the real power lies – the ballot box.”
Quoting Martin Luther King Jr., he said: “We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied by a single garment of destiny and whatever effects one directly, effects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be, until you are what you ought to be. The rich man can never be what he ought to be, until the poor man is what he ought to be.”
“I ask you to remember that, in all that you do as artists, as allies, as sisters and brothers in the fight,” he told the union’s members. “Let’s stay laser-focused as we move forward. I believe in our ability as a society to be better/do better. And I believe in you – in your abilities, efforts, and perseverance – to help us get there.”
On the charitable front, he noted that the Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund has distributed $4.8 million in emergency aid to SAG-AFTRA members in need, with hundreds of applications still in the queue. Applications are currently taking a week to process, he said. “And for those who’ve applied, please know that help is on the way.”
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