LMU Screenwriting Professor Pens Letter to Hollywood: ”We are grieving, we are angry, and we are unapologetically demanding systemic change”

Michelle Amor Gillie, a screenwriting professor at LMU School of Film at Television and co-chair of the Writers Guild of America West‘s Committee of Black Writers, was the lead author of a letter released today by the WGAW‘s Board of Directors that calls on Hollywood to end systemic racism in media and entertainment.

The letter says the industry must revolutionize hiring practices; make space for stories of all genres about Black people; and ensure that Black writers and creators are represented at the highest levels of power. (Read the full text of the statement here.)

WGAW’s own 2020 Inclusion Report found that discrimination against writers from underrepresented groups remains pervasive, and UCLA’s 2020 Hollywood Diversity Report concluded that white male writers got 80 percent of all film jobs in 2019, while Black writers only got 5.6 percent of writing jobs. ”As Black screenwriters and union members, we joined this industry because of our passion to connect with others by sharing our narratives, perspectives, and experiences,” the WGAW Committee of Black Writers’ statement says. ”Now, we want white Hollywood to play an active role in creating new industry systems that connect us to the access, opportunities, and compensation we have worked hard for and deserve so that we can feel secure enough to continue to help push this industry forward.”

Amor Gillie (who goes by Michelle Amor professionally) has been teaching screenwriting at LMU since 2016, and is the author of several screenplays and teleplays. Last fall she sold her one-hour drama The Honorable to CBS.