SAG-AFTRA leaders are calling on their members to help lead the fight against the rising tide of hate crimes and discrimination against Asian Americans.
In a message to members, president Gabrielle Carteris and Clyde Kusatsu, the union’s national vice president representing Los Angeles, said: “The ongoing wave of violence against Asian Americans is heartbreaking. As we send yet another message to members decrying hate crimes, enough is enough. Today we are asking you to help lead the fight against hate.”
They added: “Poisonous rhetoric from politicians and media figures have emboldened bigots, and with the pandemic dominating the discourse, much of that anger has been unjustifiably focused on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”
'Last Week Tonight': John Oliver Addresses Atlanta Mass Shooting, Says 'Anti-Asian Racism Has Long Been A Fact Of American Life'
Citing steps the union has taken to combat that trend – long before a gunman murdered six Asian women and two other people in Georgia last week – they said that the union “can’t wage this fight alone; we need your voice. Please don’t sit on the sidelines. Call out racism when you see it in your everyday life. On social media, stand with inclusivity and acceptance. We must speak louder than the voices of hate.”
SAG-AFTRA, they noted, has a “dedicated Equity & Inclusion Department that works with diversity committees year round, including the Asian Pacific American Media Committee. The department processes member-reported discrimination or harassment in the workplace.”
Other actions the union has taken include:
• Supporting legislation that encourages diversity and targets structural inequity;
• Promoting diversity through contract incentives, workshops and panels;
• Working to increase diversity in newsrooms;
• Sponsoring and attending Asian American events and festivals across the country;
• Partnering with various diversity journalist associations and regularly attending the Asian American Journalists Association convention;
• Speaking out against racism and violence targeting Asian Americans.
Carteris and Kusatsu are also asking members to share on social media a PSA the union posted last summer in which SAG-AFTRA members from the Asian American community spoke out about the rise of discrimination and violence against Asian Americans. Watch it here:
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.