America Ferrera Signs Open Letter Urging Local Governments to Decrease Police Budgets

America Ferrera is calling for decreased police funding…

The 36-year-old Honduran American actress and activist has joined the likes of John LegendCommon, the WeekndLizzoJane Fonda, and others to signed a new open letter urging local governments to decrease police budgets in favor of spending more on health care, education, and other community programs. 

Others to sign the letter include Megan RapinoeYada Shahidi, and Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU.

The letter was released by activist Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter and a founding member of the Movement 4 Black Lives, a coalition of more than 100 black-rights organizations. 

The letter arrived in conjunction with #BlackOutTuesday and #TheShowMustBePaused, a grassroots campaign within the music industryto pause work today, June 2nd, and “reconnect with our community.” 

Talib KweliNatalie PortmanBrie Larson and Taraji P. Henson also signed the letter.

The open letter ties the deaths of unarmed black people like George FloydAhmaud ArberyBreonna TaylorTony McDade, and others to the disproportionately devastating effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on black communities. 

The COVID-19 deaths and the deaths caused by police terror are connected and consequential to each other,” it states. “The United States does not have a national healthcare system. Instead, we have the largest military budget in the world, and some of the most well-funded and militarized police departments in the world, too. Policing and militarization overwhelmingly dominate the bulk of national and local budgets. In fact, police and military funding has increased every single year since 1973, and at the same time, funding for public health decreased every year, crystallized most recently when the Trump administration eliminated the U.S. Pandemic Response Team in 2018, citing ‘costs.To know more about health check this site.

Noting, for instance, that state and local government spending on police and corrections jumped from $60 billion to $194 billion between 1977 and 2017, the letter lays out an array of different ways that money could be used. “It could go towards building healthy communities, to the health of our elders and children, to neighborhood infrastructure, to education, to childcare, to support a vibrant Black future. The possibilities are endless.”

At the end, the letter lays out its three demands and asks all signees to encourage their local officials to take the pledge as well: “Vote no on all increases to police budgets. Vote yes to decrease police spending and budgets. Vote yes to increase spending on Health care, Education, and Community programs that keep us safe.”

Carlos Santana Among Artists Taking Part in ‘Artists United for Amazonia’ Global Livestream to Benefit Amazon Emergency Fund

Carlos Santana will be strummin’ for a cause…

The 72-year-old Mexican Grammy-winning guitarist and entrepreneur will be taking part in a global livestream event to benefit the Amazon Emergency Fund, an indigenous-led effort providing rapid response grants in the region to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carlos Santana

Santana, considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, will be joined by Jane FondaMorgan FreemanPeter Gabriel and numerous other artists for the Thursday, May 28 event. 

They’ll join indigenous leaders, scientists and a coalition of NGOs in presentng Artists United for Amazonia: Protecting the Protectors, a livestream event produced by Artists for Amazonia

The two-hour event will run from 8:00 pm to 10 pm ETE and will be hosted by part-Spanish actress and Game of Thrones co-star Oona Chaplin, who played Talisa Maegyr on the series. The livestream will be available via Facebook and through the event website. 

The program will promote the Amazon Emergency Fund, launched last month by a coalition of indigenous organizations, NGOs, and allies to respond to the urgent needs of indigenous peoples of the Amazon threatened by COVID-19.

Funds raised will be used for: immediate prevention and care; food and medical supplies; emergency communications and evacuation; protection and security for indigenous territories; and food sovereignty and community resilience. The Amazon Emergency Fund aims to raise $5 million over the next 60 days for Forest Guardians to protect themselves against the pandemic in all nine Amazonian countries. 

The Artists United for Amazonialivestream will feature living-room musical performances, interviews, and calls to action.

Performers include Herbie HancockRocky Dawuni, Butterscotch ClintonXiuhtezcatl MartinezCary ElwesAlfre WoodardWade Davis,Wagner Moura, and Brazilian Grammy winners Ivan Lins and Luciana Souza.

Others participating include Jane GoodallTom Bergeron, Ed Begley Jr.Frances FisherMatti Caspi, Suyan CaspiWendie MalickScottie ThompsonKali UchisRocky DawuniCeline CousteauMatthew ModineQ’orianka KilcherChloe Smith from Rising AppalachiaSonia GuajajaraAngela KaxuyanaNina GualingaBenki PiyakoMapu Huni Kuin, Lizardo CauperThomas LovejoyCarlos Nobre, Atossa SoltaniLeila Salazar-LópezChristina Miller, and Wade Davis

“This event is part of an extraordinary alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to preserving the most biodiverse region on Earth,” said Sarah duPont, founder of Amazon Aid Foundation and co-director, River of Gold. “Illicit and unregulated gold mining is one of the most dangerous forms of deforestation in the Amazon Basin and releases toxic mercury into the ecosystem. Since the pandemic, gold mining has exploded across the Amazon and into indigenous territories bringing with it violence and COVID-19. Now, the Amazon is at the tipping point and the protectors of the Amazon are under dire threat. What happens in the Amazon affects us all.” 

Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch, added: “The Amazon and its peoples are in a state of emergency due to climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a crime against nature and a crime against humanity. It is a time for all to unite and act in defense of the forest and in solidarity with the indigenous and traditional peoples across the Amazon who are protecting this great rainforest and our climate for all of humanity and life on Earth.” 

Ricky Martin to Receive Special Honor at the Gala Vanguard Awards

Ricky Martin is a Vanguard

The 46-year-old Puerto Rican superstar will be honored at the 49th anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards, held annually by the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Ricky Martin

The charity event honors Los Angeles-based leaders and influencers for their LGBT advocacy. Previous recipients of the Vanguard Awards include the likes of Miley Cyrus, Jane Fonda, Elton John, George and Brad Takei, and Wanda Sykes.

The 49th anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards will take place on September 22 at the Beverly Hilton.

Other 2018 honorees include Arrow and Supergirl showrunner Greg Berlanti; Berlanti’s partner, producer and retired soccer player Robbie Rogers; and philanthropist Ariadne Getty.

Martin released the Wisin and Yandel-featuring “Fiebre” and starred in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story earlier this year.

Monica Ramirez to Speak at This Year’s Makers Conference

Monica Ramirez is Maker-ing a difference…

The Latina activist will take part in this week’s Makers Conference, a three-day event that seeks to underscore the stories of trailblazing women.

Monica Ramirez

Ramirez, the co-founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, will be one of the speakers at the conference, which looks to amplify the conversion around sexual harassment and push for change on issues such as equal pay and diversity in the workplace.

Ramirez, the daughter and granddaughter of migrant farmworkers hailing from a rural community in Ohio, has served farmworker, Latina and immigrant women as an attorney, organizer and advocate. She’s dedicated to ending violence against women, particularly farmworkers.

She’s also the founder of several major initiatives and projects, including Esperanza: The Immigrant Women’s Legal Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Bandana Project and the Latina Impact Fund, and she’s a Board member for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Deputy Director for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

This year’s other speakers — chosen from the worlds of tech, entertainment, business and non-profits — include Hillary Clinton, Gloria SteinemJane FondaLena Waithe, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, Cleo Wade, Jessica Biel and Lena Dunham.

The 2018 Makers Conference will take place from February 5-8.

Rafael Casal Among the Scheduled Speakers at This Year’s Respect Rally

Rafael Casal is rallying the troops…

The 32-year-old Latino writer and performance poet will be among the speakers at the Respect Rally set to happen at the Sundance Film Festival.

Rafael Casal

Casal will join a list of speakers that includes Jane FondaCommon and Gloria Allred.

The mayor of Salt Lake City Jackie Biskupski and Utah Senate candidate Jenny Wilson will also participate in the Park City event on January 20.

Organizers expect around 3,000 to 5,000 attendees on what traditionally is the busiest day at Sundance.

“While the event is very different than last years march, it will have an equally uplifting and energizing feel for all those who attend,” says Cynthia Levine, Respect Rally Park City organizer and organizer of last year’s #MarchOnMain.

As well as the Respect Rally in Park City, gatherings and marches are planned for Los Angeles, New York and other cities on January 20.

Gina Rodriguez Receives Bill of Rights Award from the ACLU of Southern California 

Gina Rodriguez fits the bill

The 33-year-old Puerto Rican actress and Jane the Virgin star was honored Sunday by the ACLU of Southern California at the group’s annual Bill of Rights dinner.

Gina Rodriguez

Rodriguez received the Bill of Rights award for her the tireless efforts she puts toward women’s rights and support for immigration as part of her work.

Throughout her career, Rodriguez has been backed up her beliefs in her professional work, with socially-conscious projects like Jane the Virgin, which earned her a Golden Globe, and upcoming shows like Femme, dealing with millennial feminists; and Illegal, dealing with the current climate surrounding immigrant families.

Last month, she fired both her agency and management company, APA and Primary Wave Entertainment, with both linked in the wave of sexual harassment and abuse scandals plaguing Hollywood, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Rodriguez was tearful in detailing what the ACLU recognition meant to her as a Latino representative.

“For those of us who make our living in Hollywood, the images that affect our fellow humans are our responsibility. So I accept this award and in doing so accept my responsibility to present a positive image to all those who look to me for inspiration. I will never stop trying to make this country a place where people of all races and ethnicities can feel accepted,”  she said.

Others on hand lauded for their outspoken social advocacy included Oscar-winning actresses Viola Davis and Jane Fonda; producers Judd Apatow and Reginald Hudlin; and famed labor leader Dolores Huerta, who was given the Lifetime Advocate for Justice Award.

Ferrera Among Celebrities Appearing in A Capella Video in Support of Hillary Clinton

America Ferrera is fighting for Hillary Clinton

The 32-year-old Honduran American actress appears in a special Elizabeth Banks-produced a cappella music video in support of the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States.

America Ferrera

In a nod to the Pitch Perfect films she produces, Banks, along with Bruce Cohen and Mike Thompkins, recruited a long list of Hollywood actors and singers, including the former Ugly Betty star, for an a cappella version of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.”

In addition to Ferrera, other Hollywood elit appearing in the video include Eva Longoria, Kristin Chenoweth, Rob Reiner, Mandy Moore, Alan Cumming, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Idina Menzel, Renee Fleming, Aisha Tyler, Jane Fonda, Sheryl Crow and, at the very end, Sia with a loud and proud, “Go Hillary.”

Lopez to Serve as a Presenter at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Jennifer Lopez has a golden responsibility this weekend…

The 45-year-old Puerto Rican actress/singer and American Idol judge is among the second batch of presenters announced today by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Jennifer Lopez

Lopez, who received a Golden Globe nomination in 1998 for her breakout role in Selena, joins a list of presenters that includes Jennifer Aniston, Kate Beckinsale, Bryan Cranston, Jamie Dornan, Colin Firth, Jane Fonda, Harrison Ford, Bill Hader, Katherine Heigl, Dakota Johnson, Adam Levine, Matthew McConaughey, Seth Meyers, Lupita Nyong’o, Jeremy Renner, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Vince Vaughn, and Kerry Washington.

They will join previously announced presenters; Amy Adams, Adrien Brody, Robert Downey Jr., Anna Farris, Ricky Gervais, Kevin Hart, Salma Hayek, Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Pratt, Channing Tatum, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The ceremony, hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for the third year in a row, will air on Sunday, January 11 live coast-to-coast on NBC with the pre-show from 4-5 PM (PST)/7-8 PM (EST), and main telecast from 5-8 PM (PST)/8-11 PM (EST) from the Beverly Hilton.

Sheen Cast in Netflix’s Upcoming Comedy Series “Grace and Frankie”

Martin Sheen is returning to series television…

The 73-year-old half-Spanish American actor and West Wing alum has joined the cast of Netflix‘s upcoming comedy series Grace and Frankie, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Martin Sheen

Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as the titular characters, who are nemeses until they form an unlikely bond after their husbands announce that they’re in love with each other and plan to get married.

Sheen will portray Robert, the husband of Fonda’s character Grace, who eventually leaves her for another man.

The role of Tomlin’s husband has not been cast.

The single-camera comedy, which is created by Howard J. Morris and Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman, is set to debut in 2015.

Saldaña Named the New International Face of L’Oréal Paris

Zoë Saldaña is the new face of beauty worldwide…

The 35-year-old half-Dominican/half-Puerto Rican American actress and Star Trek star has signed on as the new international spokesperson of L’Oréal Paris, according to E! News.

 

Zoë Saldaña

“Growing up, I was taught to believe that I am capable to do anything a man can do,” says the Colombiana actress. “This family philosophy has shaped who I am today, and is a conviction that will always accompany me through life.”

“As a L’Oréal Paris spokesperson, being able to say, ‘We’re worth it,’ means so much to me,” she continued. “I want to share that value with women so they can embrace it and execute life with confidence. I am thrilled to join this beauty journey with such an inspirational brand.”

Saldana’s campaign will include print and television ads.

“Zoe astonishes with her audacious style and feline beauty,” says Cyril Chapuy, L’Oréal Paris’ brand global president. “Attached to her values, unafraid to speak her mind, and confident in her own skin, she embodies infallible force and asserted femininity.”

The beauty giant’s roster of celeb spokespersons also includes Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Julianne Moore, Freida Pinto, Eva Longoria and Jane Fonda.

Saldana’s next projects include a television mini-series remake of Rosemary’s Baby, a biopic about singer Nina Simone and the film adaptation of the comic book Guardians of the Galaxy.

In addition, she’s committed to reprise her role in the next three Avatar films.