The Los Angeles Inner-City Cultural Center recognized Actors’ Equity Association with its Diversity & Inclusion Recognition Award earlier this month as “a theater industry leader and innovator.”
Wren T. Brown, Producing Artistic Director of Ebony Repertory Theatre, presented the award to Equity for its efforts to ensure a more inclusive field for actors. Himself an Equity member, Brown commented on Equity’s hiring of Director of Diversity Nicole Smart: “This appointment, working with Equity’s other committees, will go a long way to help shape the cultural landscape.”
EEO Committee Vice Chair Barbara Roberts accepted the award on behalf of the Equity delegation, saying “Our Diversity Director and our union are committed to change the industry, leading our #ChangeTheStage initiative. I am proud that we are helping to lead the conversation because diversity and inclusion enriches the theatre, sustains our lives as theatre artists and impacts our audiences.”
Also on hand were Western Regional Vice President Doug Carfrae, Western Regional Director Gail Gabler, Councillors DeBorah Sharpe-Taylor and Joshua M. Bott, and EEO Committee member E. Felicia Taylor. Sharpe-Taylor, an alumnus of the Inner City Cultural Center, reflected on the personal meaning of the award. “The Inner City Cultural Center played such an important part in my professional beginnings, ultimately preparing me to be an Equity artist," she said. "It is a real honor for me to be present at this auspicious occasion, celebrating our shared commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
The Inner City Cultural Center was founded fifty years ago as a pioneer in color-blind and non-traditional casting. Carfrae noted that "Equity’s history of fighting for diversity and inclusion on stage and off began decades ago – and will continue until America’s stages reflect the breadth of American society."
Joshua M. Bott, Councillor and EEO Committee member; Barbara N. Roberts, Councillor and EEO Committee Vice Chair; Gail Gabler, Western Region Director; Doug Carfrae, Western Region Vice President; E. Felicia Taylor, EEO Committee member