Morales’ Commitment to Actors Expands Far Beyond Hollywood
His Fellow Actors, SAG-AFTRA Co-Members Rally Behind Him
By Mary Chuy
The only other Latino to get close to the oval office was Jimmy Smits in The West Wing and this was a fictional scenario. Well, as the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction.
Recently, veteran actor-activist, SAG Board Member, Esai Morales announced his candidacy to run for National SAG-AFTRA president. No fiction here, folks. Esai is real. He’s not pretending, he’s contending!
From La Bamba passed Obama, Morales is ready to rumba and shake things up at SAG-AFTRA. He’s geared up with his solid commitment to represent the acting community that far extends both coasts. As Latinos, we’re invested in television, films, music and for obvious reasons we want to see Esai win– but this man’s commitment to actors is not about his Latino roots, it is about representing the Union’s membership with integrity and transparency.
With an Esai Morales win, what can we expect will be one of the first issues to tackle?
“As an experienced Actor-Vist, I will refine how this merged union can benefit all members. The current delay in residuals is unacceptable. I will hasten the union’s promise of merging the pension and health plans. I will ensure that our readiness for the 2014 TV/Theatrical contract negotiations is unparalleled,” – Esai Morales
My name is Mary Chuy, I’m an actress, a MundoFox Wisconsin entertainment host, a contributing writer for Latin Heat and I’m invested in the Esai Morales candidacy. Esai Morales as national union president means a positive change that includes a more inclusive, equal and diverse representation. There are approximately 165,000+ SAG-AFTRA members and I sure hope the majority of them get out and vote.
“SAG-AFTRA can no longer operate in the red. I will establish worldwide recognition, branding and proper industry respect for SAG-AFTRA. For our Background Performers, I will lead the vetting of the costly and questionable hiring practices. Support Jane Austin for Secretary-Treasurer, as well as all of the Membership 1st Candidates and Delegates!” – Esai Morales
Listen to Esai Morales as to why “membership first” is top on his priorities:
National officer ballots were mailed to all eligible SAG-AFTRA members nationwide on July 16, with a return deadline and tabulation on August 15. Important to note that Paul Edney’s name will appear on the ballot but recently Mr. Edney threw his support to rival candidate Esai Morales. In his July 12th statement, he states:
“Although I have spent a lot of time, effort and money on my campaign to be on the ballot for the National President of SAG-AFTRA, I realize that Esai Morales stands a much better chance than me of winning. I don’t wish to split the vote, and since we see eye-to-eye on just about everything that needs to be done for our union, especially background, I have decided to endorse Esai Morales wholeheartedly. My name will still be on the ballot, but when you get your ballot in the mail, please vote for Esai Morales for National President of SAG-AFTRA and Jane Austin for secretary-Treasurer of SAG-AFTRA.” – Paul Edney
I am voting for Esai not because he’s Latino but because he does happen to be Latino, I believe he will be the first union head of our acting industry to understand our audition and stereotype casting frustration. I know that my acting career matters to the fellow actor that Esai is. For the first time, Latinos have an opportunity to evoke significant change should Esai get elected. That’s what I believe. Here is what other fellow SAG-AFTRA actors and entertainment professionals are saying:
Sheila Korsi, Actor
Esai Morales’ message that “We Can Do Better” is inspiring! There are definitely many areas our Union can improve for its members, as he says. One area he promises to do better is changing the present policy so that we can receive our residuals without such a lengthy time lapse. In addition, his win would create history – being the first Latino President of SAG-AFTRA since its inception!
Felix Pire, Actor
I’m for Mr. Morales because I believe that among SAG-AFTRA’s presidents, it’d be exemplary to have a Latino in the roster. I share much of his point of view. I admire his passion, integrity and especially his devotion to the inclusion of diversity talent onscreen.
Juan Rodriguez, Actor
Me parece excelente idea que un Latino sea presidente de SAG-AFTRA por que asi se abrirán mas las puertas de los actores, directores, y productores de todo el mundo para exponer su trabajo en Hollywood. [It is an excellent idea! A Latino as SAG-AFTRA president! He will open more doors for actors, directors and producers from all over the world, not just Hollywood].
Karina Noelle, Actor
As a veteran in the entertainment industry Esai seems to be connected to the working actors that populate SAG-AFTRA. He was the only board member to promote evolution as opposed to either moving backward or complete upheaval of the merger. That’s the kind of person I want in a position of leadership: someone who is passionate about moving forward in a positive direction to benefit membership.
Sandra Santiago, Actor
I am so proud of my friend. He is an amazing human being who cares about us. I agree with all that you say! I also believe that he can win this election and make history!
Raquel Almazan, Actor
As a Latina SAG-AFTRA member we rely on the few diversity showcases networks provide, limiting roles in films –where our voice is not often heard. We can help Esai Morales make history for Latinos in the industry, to finally have a representative for performers of color on a large scale. The landscape is changing and we should be able to play more than drug dealers, maids and refugees. United with Morales, we can create new and vital roles for Latinos in television and film.
Paloma Morales, Actor I met him once and he was so kind… so un-actor (if there’s such a word). He will be a great asset for our Latino/Hispanic acting community, but at the same time I believe he will do an excellent job for everyone else. Plus he has a great last name! Can’t go wrong with that!
“Esai Morales represents the New Latino Leadership not just for SAG-AFTRA, but also for the entire country. Latinos are now poised to take our place as the new leaders of America. We are the youngest, largest and fastest-growing group. We are the future of America.” — Gabriel Reyes, Publicist
Carolina Sandoval, Actor
No lo conozco en persona, pero me queda claro su mensaje y toda persona que tenga un cargo publico debe tener dentro de sus prioridades de tratar de mejorar las cosas que no funcionen. [I don’t know him personally, but clearly I understand his candidacy message. Everyone holding a public office should have one purpose in mind: To improve and fix what needs to be.]
Julia Vera, Actor
Esai Morales is very qualified to become President of SAG-ATRA. He has participated in many union projects. He has been outspoken when things are not fair. I believe he is well informed and knowledgeable to head the Union.
Gabriel Chavarria, Actor
I think having Esai Morales running for SAG-AFTRA president is amazing for us Latinos! He has my support 110%
Chuti Tiu, Actor
As an ethnic minority, I’m inspired to see talented people of color like Esai striving for leadership positions in our industry.
Oscar Torre, Actor
It’s great that Esai Morales is running. It would be great having someone of his experience not only representing Latinos but all actors regardless of their ethnicity.
Kiki Melendez, Actor
Count on me!
Renato Campilongo, Actor
Es un buen momento para tener a un actor/director de gran trayectoria ocupando este puesto .
Son muchos los Latinos dedicados a representar y defender el arte. Ademas de ser triunfadores y ganadores de multiples premios. Bravo! [It is the right time for an actor/director of his experience to be in this role of Union President. There are a lot of Latinos dedicated to fight and preserve for the art… aside from his being a successful award-winning actor, he will make a great president. Bravo!]
Patricia Rae, Actor
It’s about time Latinos band together and move forward as a [united] ethnic force!
Sandra Rivera, Actor
Esai Morales will be a perfect fit! He is going to set a new tone. I’m super excited to have a Latino representation and that is highly needed! Great transformation and positive changes are about to occur!
“I agree with most of what he says especially: “starting from the bottom up” as far as the membership. I’m a director and I have worked with SAG actors in a number of projects, it seems to me they need to simplify things and make the union more efficient. Esai seems to be a person of great integrity and I’m sure he will shake things up and make things happen.” — Antonio De La Cruz, Filmmaker
Ludo Vika, Actor
I’m with you!
Luis Fernando Arcila, Actor
Esai Morales es el ejemplo palpable de lo que es ser un gran actor! Es entregado, multifacetico, profesional, integro y verdadero… y orgullosamente latino! Nacio para ser grande, para hacer historia! Para Esai por siempre, toda mi admiracion y respeto! [Esai Morales is an exemplary actor! He is dedicated, multifaceted and a total professional. He has integrity and I’m so proud he is a Latino! He was born to be great and to make history! For Esai, nothing but my full respect and admiration!]
More on SAG-AFTRA Elections:
National president and national secretary-treasurer positions are up for election, both of which carry two-year terms. All national board seats are up for election this year, along with all local officer, local board, and convention delegate positions.
The executive vice president and other vice presidents will be elected at the inaugural SAG-AFTRA Convention in September.
Deadline for the national official ballots mailed to all eligible SAG-AFTRA members nationwide is August 15, and election results are to be announced that same evening. The same schedule will apply to the Los Angeles and New York Local elections. Schedules vary for other local elections. The candidates for national president are Paul Edney, Ken Howard, Marilyn Monrovia, and Esai Morales. The candidates for national secretary-treasurer are Amy Aquino and Jane Austin.
NOTE: Paul Edney is no longer running although his name will still appear on ballot. Mr. Edney has thrown his support to Esai Morales.
Elia Esparza Contributed and Edited Article