History of the African American Steering Committee
The AASC grew out of the DGA's Ethnic Minority Committee, formed in 1980, largely due to the efforts of Wendell J. Franklin, the first African-American member of the DGA, and fellow African-American directors Ivan Dixon, William Crain and Reuben Watt. In January of 1994, the DGA National Board approved a revived African-American Steering Committee, co-chaired by Roy Campanella II, Deirdre Dix and Kevin Hooks.
The Committee now has a formal structure with twenty members elected annually to represent the Guild's African-American members. In its current format, the AASC actively explores ways to assist the Guild in improving employment opportunities, working conditions and financial compensation for ethnic minority members. Subsequent Co-Chairs of the Committee include DGA President Paris Barclay, Abdul Malik Abbott, Reginald D. Brown, LeVar Burton, Bill Duke, Van Hayden, Erma Elzy-Jones, Loretha Jones, Ted Lange, Bob Reid, Michael Schultz, and Carl Weathers. The AASC's current co-chairs are Jeff Byrd, Oz Scott and Carl Seaton.
The AASC organizes numerous events including seminars, panel discussions and has presented tributes to pioneering directors such as Debbie Allen, Bill Duke, Wendell J. Franklin, Melvin Van Peebles, Stan Lathan and Gordon Parks. Some of these events have led to actual change such as the panel discussion, Moving Forward: A Catalyst for Change, held on November 16, 1994, which resulted in the eventual creation of the DGA-Disney Directors Training Program. A year later, the AASC partnered with Warner Brothers to present an all-day seminar, Getting Work in Film & Television. Along with the Women's Steering Committee and the Latino Committee, the AASC participates in the Annual DGA Student Film Awards. In addition to its membership functions, the AASC encourages the greater participation of African-American members in all Guild activities, and maintains a healthy line of communication with the DGA leadership, the executive decision-making structure of Hollywood and various organizations within the creative community.
For more information about the DGA African-American Steering Committee, contact Frank Bennett Gonzalez at 310-289-5377 or via email at FGonzalez@dga.org.
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