Posts tagged with "inclusion"

Octavia Spencer illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Octavia Spencer × Ruderman Family Foundation

Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer today joined the Ruderman Family Foundation in calling on the entertainment industry to increase the casting of people with disabilities, including in on-screen roles that portray characters with disabilities.

“Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities,” Octavia Spencer says in a new public service announcement with the Ruderman Family Foundation

Appearing in a newly released public service announcement, Spencer recounts Hollywood’s long history of inauthentic representation and exclusion of marginalized populations — from men playing women until 1660; to white actors playing Black, Asian, and Native American characters; to LGBTQ stories getting left out of film and television until the last two decades.

“All of these communities of people had to endure not only their stories being told inauthentically, but also seeing themselves portrayed inauthentically,” says Spencer in a message filmed for the Ruderman Family Foundation. “But nothing can replace lived experience and authentic representation. That’s why it’s imperative that we cast the appropriate actor for the appropriate role, and that means people with disabilities as well. Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust, and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities.”

She continues, “I am joining with the Ruderman Family Foundation to call on the entertainment industry to increase casting of people with disabilities. There is no reason that we should continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past. Together, we should and can do better.”

Spencer’s call amplifies the Foundation’s series of initiatives to foster greater inclusion in the entertainment industry.

Last December, the organization circulated an open letter calling on studio, production, and network executives to pledge to create more opportunities for people with disabilities, and to make more inclusive casting decisions. Among those who signed the pledge were Oscar winners George Clooney and Joaquin Phoenix, Oscar nominees Ed Norton, Bryan Cranston and Mark Ruffalo, Golden Globe winner Glenn Close, Oscar-winning director Peter Farrelly, accomplished actress Eva Longoria, and acclaimed filmmaker Bobby Farrelly.

A separate Foundation-initiated pledge to commit to auditioning more actors with disabilities was signed by CBS, while the BBC pledged to implement more authentic and distinctive representation of people with disabilities on screen. The Foundation also released a white paper showing that half of U.S. households want accurate portrayals of characters with disabilities, and despite that only 22% of characters with disabilities are authentically portrayed on television.

“As an Oscar-winning actor, Octavia Spencer embodies Hollywood’s vast potential to serve as a powerful catalyst for positive social change if studio, production, and network executives commit to more inclusive and authentic representation,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “We are gratified that Ms. Spencer has joined our call and we look forward to have other actors and actresses, filmmakers, producers and studios continue to create unprecedented momentum that brings about greater casting of people with disabilities.”

To view Octavia Spencer’s video message in full, please see here.

Follow Octavia Spencer: Instagram | Twitter

Follow Ruderman Family Foundation: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Superhero illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Black-Owned Superhero Brand

Aza Comics, owned by black woman creator Jazmin Truesdale and known for its roster of multicultural female superheroes, is aiming to continue providing hope and escapism for the world as people support the Black Lives Matter movement. “Aza Comics has always addressed the issues of black people in its storylines,” says Truesdale, “I’m just happy that now people are finally understanding what is happening and joining this fight that is truly everyone’s fight.”

The Aza Universe is centered almost entirely around women of color and has always tried to provide hope and inspiration for women around the world as they face various issues like racial inequity, sexism, misogyny and homophobia. This hits especially close to home for Truesdale as countless black women like Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor have yet to see justice in a time when black women face the highest rates of homicide in the US.  During this time, Aza Comics received an incredible growth in sales and exposure as more people discovered what the Aza superhero universe is all about. “I just want people to at least feel safe in their imagination,” says Truesdale.  “For black people and many other people of color, everywhere we look pain is reflecting back at us.  I want Aza Comics to be that escape where you can feel heard and empowered to fight another day.”

Aza Comics has a lot in store this year for its growing number of fans. “We will do what we’ve always done,” says Truesdale,” Continue to grow and enrich the lives of people of color around the world and partner with people and brands who truly care about the lives of others.”  The company plans to use its revenue to invest in entrepreneurs of color, support women athletes, expand its universe with more inclusive superheroes and do what it can to continue being a voice.

Aza Comics is a superhero brand based in Durham, North Carolina founded by serial entrepreneur and author Jazmin Truesdale.  The company is known for its multicultural female superheroes and philanthropic initiatives that have been featured in Vogue, TIME, USA Today, and various other national and international publications.

Follow Aza Comics:  Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Follow Jazmin Truesdale:  Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

Justice illustration

Global Though Leader on Ending Racism

George Floyd’s murder ignited a wave of national and global protests demanding justice and change, including police reform and reparations for Black Americans. Structural Racism is not exclusive to the United States. Racism is clearly a global problem.

In a new interview with C.M. Rubin, Michael Baran, the Co-Author of Subtle Acts of Exclusion, says communities “need to work to address structural inequalities in societies in health, wealth, education, and criminal injustice.” Baran believes that it is important to start talking about bias with preschool children. “If we don’t teach them about this, they will learn passively through all the subtle messages in our culture, which leads to unconscious biases.” Baran additionally advocates for more focus on training teachers to be inclusive, “as teachers can have unconscious biases as well.”

Michael Baran is the Senior Partner & Digital Solutions Lead in InQUEST. He is also the Co-Author of Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions. As an Author, Speaker, and also a Strategist for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Baran has been committed to conducting and organizing ethnographic research for varies social issues, including race and identity, racial disparities in education, violence against children, healthy housing, environmental health, human services, criminal justice reform, immigration reform, climate change, and early childhood development. CMRubinWorld’s award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, brings together distinguished thought leaders in education and innovation from around the world to explore the key learning issues faced by most nations. The series has become a highly visible platform for global discourse on 21st-century learning, offering a diverse range of innovative ideas which are presented by the series founder, C. M. Rubin, together with the world’s leading thinkers.

NAMIC CHAPTER EXPANSION

NAMIC REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY WITCH CHAPTER EXPANSION

The National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), the premier organization focusing on cultural diversity in the communications industry, is expanding its national footprint with the installation of two new chapters NAMIC-Virginia and NAMIC-Detroit. 

The chapters will be led by Vonya Alleyne, vice president, human resources, Cox Communications, Virginia Region, and Mikel D. Slater, vice president, human resources, Comcast, respectively.
“With a membership of more than 3,500 professionals across 18 chapters nationwide, we are dedicated to driving and developing a pipeline of diverse talent,” said Eglon E. Simons, NAMIC president and CEO. “Our chapter additions in Virginia and Detroit reaffirm our mission to educate, advocate and empower for multi-ethnic diversity in the workplace.”

Incorporated on May 31, 2017, NAMIC-Virginia will provide events and programs for communications industry professionals located in the Hampton Roads and Richmond markets, including Portsmouth, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Hampton, Williamsburg and Newport News. The chapter is also committed to engaging local universities, technical community colleges and local media companies, as well as offering leadership, business and strategic development opportunities to its membership. 

More information is available on the chapter’s website at namicvirginia.com and LinkedIn, as well as on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

NAMIC-Virginia’s inaugural executive leadership team and advisory council comprise a diverse team of leaders with 100+ years of collective professional experience: 

NAMIC-Virginia: Executive Leadership Team

President: Vonya Alleyne, VP, Human Resources, Cox Communications, Virginia Region

Vice President: Lakysha Laing, Director, Customer Care, Cox Communications, Virginia Region

Secretary: Shinese Collins, Sr. Manager, Marketing, Cox Communications, Virginia Region

Treasurer: Kenneth Rand, Business Manager, Cox Communications, Virginia Region

Project Manager: Lakiesha Jones, Project Manager II, Cox Communications, Virginia Region
NAMIC-Virginia: Advisory Council

Stephanie Dewald, VP, Sales Centers, Cox Communications, Virginia Region

Ramcess Jean-Louis, Director of Workforce Diversity and Inclusion, Comcast

JD Myers, SVP and Region Manager, Cox Communications, Virginia Region

Kimberly Voxland, Director of Public Relations and Office Operations, Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association
NAMIC-Detroit was incorporated on June 12, 2017. The chapter is dedicated to providing innovative professional and leadership development programs and initiatives, and establishing mentoring and professional networking opportunities to the Detroit area. NAMIC-Detroit will also educate, develop, empower and advocate for communication industry professionals and entrepreneurs. Additional chapter information is available on NAMIC’s website at namic.com/membership/detroit/.

NAMIC-Detroitߣs inaugural executive leadership team and advisory council include the following industry professionals:
NAMIC-Detroit: Executive Leadership Team

President: Mikel Slater, VP of Human Resources, Comcast

Vice President: Mark S. Lee, President & CEO, The LEE Group LLC

Secretary: Jackie Underwood, Sr. Director of Human Resources, Comcast Heartland Region

Treasurer: Abhijeet Kumar, Manager of Product Sales Support and Analysis, Comcast Heartland Region
NAMIC-Detroit: Advisory Council

Andrea Agnew, VP of Human Resources, Comcast Spotlight

Pamela Dover, Sr. Director of Business Development, Comcast

Michelle Gilbert, VP of Public Relations, Comcast Heartland Region

Maria Holmes, Director of Community Investment, Comcast Heartland Region
NAMIC’s 18 chapters are the heart and soul of the organization and constitute the most accessible opportunity for members to cultivate the relationships and knowledge to leverage career growth. NAMIC chapters are also learning labs for leadership competencies most sought after in the industry. To join, visit http://namic.com/membership/.

ABOUT NAMIC:

NAMIC (National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications) is the premier organization focusing on cultural diversity, equity and inclusion in the communications industry. More than 3,500 professionals belong to a network of 18 chapters nationwide. Through initiatives that target leadership development, advocacy and empowerment, NAMIC collaborates with industry partners to grow and nurture a workforce that reflects the cultural richness of the populations served. Please visit www.namic.com for more information about NAMIC and its many opportunities.