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"All My Children" actor and military veteran J.R. Martinez is among the many entertainment industry community members attending First Lady Michelle Obama's "Joining Forces" panel discussion.

AFTRA, Guilds Join ‘Forces’ with First Lady

Posted June 13, 2011

Academy Award-winning Producer and JOINING FORCES Inter-Guild Task Force Coordinator Bruce Cohen to announce PSA campaign; Army Wives Creator Katherine Fugate, Entertainment industry Guild Officials including WGAW President John Wells, PGA Co-President Hawk Koch, AFTRA President Roberta Reardon, DGA Secretary-Treasurer Gil Cates, SAG President Ken Howard, and special guests gather for Informative and inspirational panel discussion.

The JOINING FORCES Inter-Guild Task Force of American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild of America, West today host an important conversation with First Lady Michelle Obama and military family members to share inspirational stories of the service and sacrifice of active duty service men and women, veterans and the military families who serve alongside our soldiers.

Held at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, today’s panel discussion is moderated by writer/director J. J. Abrams ("Super 8," "Fringe") and also features "Army Wives" creator Katherine Fugate whose landmark AFTRA-covered Lifetime drama series follows the lives of several fictional military families.

Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen ("American Beauty," "Milk") will welcome the panelists and guests and Fugate will announce that the Guild’s have joined forces to provide production support for the creation of filmed public service announcements (PSA’s). Fugate will also recognize Grammy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated songwriter Dianne Warren who is donating an original, unreleased song to JOINING FORCES for use in the PSA campaign in production now for release in July.

“Every day, America's service men and women give their best to keep us safe, and when they come home, they deserve no less from us. I applaud First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden for creating Joining Forces, and AFTRA is honored to be part of it. Union and Guild members who work in entertainment and news media can be powerful advocates for this initiative: the scripted programs, news stories and music that our members create bring the stories of men and women in the Armed Forces from the battlefield into our hearts and minds,” said AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon.

“When the White House reached out to Hollywood to get involved, all five guilds answered the call to help present the heroic stories of several military families at today¹s event. I could not be prouder to be a part of what we hope will be a powerful and illuminating morning," said Cohen.

The event is part of Joining Forces: Taking Action to Serve America’s Military Families, an initiative created by the first lady and Jill Biden to support service members’ families. Other AFTRA members and dignitaries expected to attend include host committee members Dustin Lance Black ("Milk," "Big Love"), Geoffrey Fletcher ("Precious"), Damon Lindelof ("Lost," "Star Trek") and WGAW President John Wells ("ER," "Southland"), actor and AFTRA Los Angeles Local President and 2nd National Vice President Ron Morgan, actors Michael Chiklis, LL Cool J, Morgan Fairchild, Adam Scott, Lily Tomlin, Blair Underwood and J. R. Martinez. The panel will discuss inspirational stories of military families and ways to share those stories through film, television and digital media.

About the JOINING FORCES Initiative
For more information about the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s JOINING FORCES initiative visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces

About the Inter-Guild Task Force and its Members
AFTRA, DGA, PGA, SAG and WGAW have joined forces in an Inter-Guild Task Force to bring awareness to the First Lady’s JOINING FORCES initiative that she launched with Dr. Jill Biden in April. The Inter-Guild Task Force will provide creative and production support for the JOINING FORCES initiative and will inform and inspire their memberships and the entertainment industry about the service of America’s military families.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, broadcasters, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at www.aftra.com.

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