Dear Guild members,
We are writing to let you know that the Political Engagement Initiative will be undertaking a major effort to increase access to healthcare for dramatists. We wanted to explain why we’ve made this work a priority, to lay out some of the efforts we are planning to make, and to share information with any members who might be in need.
As dramatists, most of us are members of the “gig economy,” earning our living in a piecemeal fashion rather than working as employees. Even in the best of times, many dramatists live an economically fragile existence. Our work is inconsistent, and the income from that work often falls far short of meeting our basic human needs. Among those needs, of course, is healthcare, and in the United States, access to healthcare is almost inextricably linked to full-time employment. Because most of us don’t enjoy that status, we struggle to get the care we deserve as human beings. In ordinary times, that’s inequitable. During a pandemic, it’s abominable.
In response to the situation in which we find ourselves, the Political Engagement Initiative has kicked off an effort to research already-existing advocacy efforts, particularly those led by arts organizations, that the Guild might be able to join. We are exploring partnership possibilities and investigating which political proposals we think will best serve our membership. We have also begun creating tools that will help individual Guild members advocate for increased access to health care at the local level. In the coming months, you’ll be hearing more from us, and we also hope to hear from you, too. If you have thoughts or resources to share, we would love to hear from you. You can reach out to us by sending your comments and questions to Jenna Chrisphonte.
In the short term, we want to make sure that all Guild members are aware of the healthcare resources that are currently available. Dramatists Guild members can immediately contact the Actors Fund for immediate assistance in applying for available health insurance and available resources. If you are in need of immediate financial assistance for medical or health insurance expenses, you can receive support via the Dramatists Guild Foundation's Emergency Grants.
Thank you so much. We hope you stay healthy and get all the care you need.
Political Engagement Committee
Theatres and #PLAYOURPART
As theatre seasons launch around the country, we who work at theatres have an opportunity to play a meaningful part in the democratic process. Many of us already experience high foot-traffic in our lobbies six days a week. We are in a natural position to offer this public service to our audiences. #PlayOurPart represents a nonpartisan effort to increase voter participation in the upcoming election, and in all elections, by offering pre-show voter registration in theatre lobbies.
Creating a voter registration event at your theatre is easier than you might think! Whether you want to organize a one-time event or offer pre-show voter registration on a regular basis, we offer the following as a toolkit for your planning process.
State Health Agency Officials
State governments are closing schools, universities, theatres, gyms, restaurants, and other gathering places. Public anxiety and fear are at an all time high.
To make matters worse, many Dramatists Guild members work as independent contractors, freelancers, and license their intellectual property - leaving them without health insurance. Would you consider contacting your state government officials to ask them when COVID-19 tests will be made available to the public, irregardless of insurance status?
Below is a list of state health agency officials. If you feel that your state is not doing enough to allocate resources towards COVID-19 tests and response, please take five minutes to call, write, and email:
For more information, please contact Jenna Chrisphonte, Director of Community Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regional Voter Registration
In fulfilling its mission, the Dramatists Guild recognizes that much of the creative work of authorship is undertaken in isolation, so the Guild fosters a sense of union and community among its members in order to enrich, inspire, and empower them to advocate for themselves, for their work, and for each other. In this way, Guild members come to realize that if they do not advance together, they do not advance at all.
The Dramatists Guild seeks members to volunteer to organize voter registration drives in their local theatres and communities. The only requirement is a love for theatre and a commitment to bringing people together.
- Run voter registration tables in partnership with local theatres and other community-based organizations
- Use social media creatively to encourage contacts to register to vote
- Attend and promote community forums, social events, town hall, and other local activities
If you would like to volunteer or nominate someone to participate, please contact Jenna Chrisphonte, Director of Community Engagement, at email@example.com