A Letter from a Member in Charlottesville

15 August 2017

One of our members was at the protests in Charlottesville over the weekend when tragedy struck. Thankfully, he escaped harm, and he reached out to Local 600 to share his thoughts about what happened:

Dear members of the International Cinematographers Guild,

This past Saturday, my friends and I were almost run down by the racist terrorist who plowed his car into the crowd of peaceful protesters with whom we were marching. The crowd consisted of people from my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, along with many who came in support of the small city where I was born and raised.  We were in the path of the car and while we were lucky enough to jump out of the way as it drove through the crowd, many were not as lucky. We saw bodies flying and people crushed between cars. We witnessed hate and intolerance manifested into cowardly violence, and we are all now coming to grips with what that means for us and for the community. We were all separated when the attack happened and it took some time to look over the victims who were being immediately cared for before I learned that my friends had not been harmed.

The fact has not escaped me that the four friends I was marching alongside are all members of various unions: Austin Burnett (Local 600 AC), Jack Stienburg (DGA 1st AD), Jason Mitchell (IA Local 487) and William (Bill) Hardy (DGA 2nd AD). The friends I was with are all people who I know are deeply committed to the safety of those on set. They are all people who look out for others and will stand up against unfair treatment of people, whether they are union members or not.

I want it known that the friends I was with and the people marching against hate and intolerance are the people who make up the core of strong unions. We are neighbors, friends, community members and workers. We were not radicals as some have suggested, but regular folks; good people who believe in equality and are willing to walk out of their homes and stand up against hate. We are people who understand that building others up builds us all up. We know that working together to provide safety, opportunity and equality is essential in maintaining healthy, thriving communities.

>Now is the time for strong unions, just as it is for strong communities. Now is the time for good people to stand up and be counted, to get involved and be on the front lines in the fight for equality, fair wages, and safety. Now is not the time for apathy. It's easy for people to think that this may not be their struggle. The fact is that this is the struggle of all decent people. You don't have to be out on the front lines in a volatile protest; there are many ways to do something. The important thing is that you do SOMETHING.

I want to thank the International Cinematographers Guild for the work they have done to promote safety, equality and opportunity during a time when our political leaders are outwardly anti-union. I'm proud to be part of an organization whose main goal is to look out for people. We should all be proud of that.

Be well, stay safe, and look out for each other.


Eric M. Hurt

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