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J.R. Martinez accepts his AFTRA Diversity Award at the 2011 Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards. Photo: Valerie Macon/Getty Images

“DWTS” Martinez Honored by AFTRA at Tri-Union Diversity Awards

Posted November 11, 2011

Actor and Veteran Receives Special Recognition by U.S. Army

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 11, 2011) – Iraq War vet, “Dancing with the Stars” contestant  and “All My Children” star J.R. Martinez was honored Monday, Nov. 7, in Los Angeles with the AFTRA Diversity Award at the 9th Annual Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards (The Ivys), held at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center and Ebony Repertory Theatre.

– Iraq War vet, “Dancing with the Stars” contestant  and “All My Children” star J.R. Martinez was honored Monday, Nov. 7, in Los Angeles with the AFTRA Diversity Award at the 9th Annual Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Awards (The Ivys), held at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center and Ebony Repertory Theatre.

A veteran of the war in Iraq, Martinez was surprised with an additional honor from the U.S. Army for his service in and out of uniform. He is the first veteran to receive the award.

Named in honor of long-time tri-union member and actress Ivy Bethune, The Ivys are presented by Actors’ Equity Association, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild to celebrate individuals and organizations in the performing arts that have taken an active stand to make a difference toward a more representational, multicultural community by helping build a foundation for diversity within the industry.

Also honored Monday were Bill Cosby (SAG honoree), San Diego’s Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company (AEA honoree) and Zina Bethune (Tri-Union honoree). Actor Lee Weaver accepted the award for Cosby, who was unable to attend.

Martinez was selected by the AFTRA EEO Committee for focusing attention on and dedicating himself to supporting and empowering disabled veterans and burn victims.

On April 5, 2003, Martinez’s life changed. As an Army corporal in the infantry, Martinez was heading to Karbala to secure an area when he ran over a land mine. He was burned over 40% of his body and his military career ended. Five years later, Martinez was cast as Brot Monroe on the AFTRA-covered daytime drama “All My Children,” which went off the air in September. He is currently the frontrunner on the AFTRA program “Dancing with the Stars.”

Prior to his presentation, U.S. Army SPC Lorna Galvez sang “Never Give Up” by Yolanda Adams.

Presenting the award to Martinez was Julie Hanan Carruthers, executive producer of “All My Children.” Carruthers spoke of how Martinez put her at ease when they first met and she was caught off-guard by his burn scars.

In accepting the award, Martinez said, “I’ve had an unbelievable time and I’ve been able to instill in people that we all have the power of choice. You can overcome. You can persevere and dream big.

“We are all entitled to the next big thing,” he added.

Following Martinez’s Diversity Award presentation, he was surprised by a special guest, Major General Joseph Anderson, who was the actor’s commander of the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), which was the unit he was in when he was injured.

Anderson presented Martinez with the first-ever “Army Star Award,” which reads: “We thank you for your service to our country – both in and out of uniform. Not only do you exemplify all of the Army values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor Integrity and Personal Courage; you have also become an inspiration to us all. Hooah!"

The following photo agencies covered the awards:

Getty Images

Film Magic

Five Minute Photos

PR Photos

About the Tri-Union Diversity Awards, the Ivys
The Tri-Union Diversity Awards, called the Ivys, are in their ninth year of honoring individuals and organizations that have set exemplary standards for creating a multicultural and representational community within the performing arts, deliberately breaking down barriers and opening doors, generating work for performers across a wider cross-cultural base. Honorees are not specifically Tri-Union members, and may include companies or individuals who: 1) by catering to specific underrepresented sectors create work; 2) generate a variety of opportunities for underrepresented performers through culturally blind casting; or 3) use their own breakthrough accomplishments to generate and support new awareness and casting practices.
In 2005, the Tri-Union Diversity Awards were formally named for Ivy Bethune, a tireless member of all three unions who devoted more than 80 years of her life to civil rights activism and equal opportunity rights.

Previous Ivy Award honorees include Ossie Davis ("Do The Right Thing"), Edward James Olmos ("Battlestar Galactica"), Robert Guillaume ("Sports Night"), George Takei ("Star Trek"), Esai Morales ("La Bamba"), Debbie Allen ("Fame"), Kal Penn ("House"), CCH Pounder ("Avatar"), Tony Plana ("Ugly Betty") and Wendy Raquel Robinson ("The Game") – all artists who have invested their time and energy in programs bringing self-empowerment, creativity and civil rights to our global community.

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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