In a remarkable display of unity and purpose, Angela Harvey, a TV writer and co-chair of the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity (TTIE), found herself in an unexpected predicament during the recent picket at Disney’s lot.
Tasked with capturing the event’s essence through photos and social media updates, Angela realized her phone was left in her car.
Katherine Beattie, a wheelchair user and fellow advocate from TTIE, stepped up without hesitation, embodying the accessibility ethos that lies at the core of the organization.
TTIE, an advocacy group composed of working television writers historically excluded from mainstream narratives, has been making significant strides since its unassuming inception six years ago.
The recent July 28 intersectional picket at the Disney lot, conceived by TTIE members and Writers Guild of America (WGA) captains, spotlighted the unique challenges these writers face due to the intricacies of the guild’s collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Danny Tolli, Anupam Nigam, and Niceole Levy, driving forces behind the picket, emphasized the urgency of their cause.
“While we’ve achieved progress in the DEIA space, the very foundation we stand on is eroding,” Tolli proclaimed to the assembled picketers.
Their grievances were potent: the strike’s core issues disproportionately impact historically marginalized writers.
The size of creative teams directly influences the depth and richness of storytelling, and the presence of writers on set and during post-production is vital for grooming future showrunners.
The battle against harmful stereotypes perpetuated by AI-driven content creation also looms large.
TTIE’s arsenal of resources and information underscores their commitment to change. The organization’s journey began with a discreet survey, a whisper of solidarity that has now blossomed into a resounding roar.
Y. Shireen Razack, TTIE’s co-chair, explains that their platform provides a lifeline for writers who often feel isolated and gaslit. By sharing experiences and offering a safe haven, TTIE nurtures a resilient community that defies the status quo.
The TTIE Together picket saw approximately 215 attendees, a testament to the organization’s growing influence.
Maha Chehlaoui, the program director, estimates that even more individuals engaged with TTIE’s cause at their table and during the lively afterparty.
An attendee new to TTIE’s fold was captivated by the camaraderie and felt an immediate sense of belonging. MW Cartozian Wilson, TTIE’s community building captain, remarked on the palpable resilience building within the community.
The picket’s symbolic significance cannot be overstated. Disabled writers, once seen as distant supporters, are now an integral part of the collective union.
Katherine Beattie, a Writers Guild member since 2017 and a wheelchair user, reflects on how the unity displayed during the strike elevates the profile of disabled writers and promotes true inclusivity.
David Radcliff, a fellow advocate from TTIE and co-chair of WGA’s disabled writers committee, advocates for a collective effort in creating accessible spaces.
His message is clear: only by fostering connections and understanding the needs of disabled individuals can true accessibility be achieved.
This sentiment resonates deeply, as often marginalized writers find it challenging to prioritize their unique access requirements. The power of advocacy lies in the chorus of voices speaking up on their behalf.
The dedication of historically excluded writers to the strike is profound, even if it entails personal sacrifices. The struggle is amplified for those who lack established financial safety nets.
Tawal Panyacosit Jr., TTIE’s co-chair, underscores the immense responsibility borne by marginalized writers during this crucial moment.
Yet, TTIE’s unflinching support for the strike has come at a price, impacting their budget due to partnerships with struck companies.
However, their commitment to the cause remains unwavering, as the strike mirrors their overarching mission.
The solidarity forged during this pivotal time must not dissipate; instead, it should serve as a foundation for ongoing advocacy and transformation.
As the strike’s conclusion draws near, the leadership of TTIE implores its members to remember the bonds cultivated on the picket lines.
Niceole Levy, one of TTIE’s co-chairs, emphasizes the mutual support that writers provide each other.
These alliances, she believes, should persist beyond the strike, ensuring that diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility remain at the forefront of the industry’s agenda.
Addressing the crowd at the TTIE Together afterparty, Maha Chehlaoui encapsulates the spirit of the moment.
Beyond the strike’s culmination, the mission to empower historically excluded writers and marginalized communities persists.
Advocacy, resilience, and unity are their guiding lights, illuminating a path toward a more inclusive and equitable industry.
As they rebuild, they do so with a shared purpose, bound by the knowledge that the strength of their community will continue to shape the future.