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June 1, 2007
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Volume 35
Issue 22
 
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ABC debuts Isaiah Washington PSA
ABC debuts Isaiah Washington PSA
NEW YORK  Isaiah Washington will appear in a public service announcement (PSA) intended to combat intolerance based on sexual orientation, race and gender. The PSA will debut today, Thursday, May 24, during two back-to-back episodes of Grey's Anatomy on ABC (9:00 - 11:00 p.m. ET/PT).

The PSA is the result of a January meeting with Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and Kevin Jennings, founder and executive director of GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, where the actor apologized for the use of an anti-Gay slur.

At the January meeting, Washington acknowledged the harm he had caused by his use of the epithet and expressed an interest in taking steps, such as producing this PSA, to combat prejudice and intolerance faced by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. The PSA was produced by ABC.

"Words have power, and far too often we see them used to dehumanize people because of our differences," Giuliano said. "When Isaiah Washington acknowledges the responsibility that he and each of us have to create a culture that rejects prejudice, it advances the kind of dialogue that's absolutely essential to changing hearts and minds. We are gratified that with this PSA, ABC will be sharing this vital message with millions of viewers in the days and weeks to come."

"As an education organization, GLSEN believes in the power of the teachable moment," Jennings added. "While there is no excuse for this type of language, we welcome the opportunity to use this incident to educate millions about the impact of name-calling on young people. We are grateful to ABC for bringing GLSEN's message of respect to millions of households."

In the PSA, Washington says: "Words have power. The power to express love, happiness and joy. They also have the power to heal. When you use words that demean a person because of their sexual orientation, race or gender, you send a message of hate. But we all have the power to demand better from one another, and ourselves. We have the power to heal and change the world by the words we use."

GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN's educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs, research, public education or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org.

A joint press release



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