Update from Bob Beitcher, MPTF President and CEO (June 5, 2020):

For nearly 100 years, our mission at MPTF has been guided by a simple but profound purpose: To take care of our own. This is our daily work: Providing care and compassion to make the lives of others better and, by so doing, strengthening and improving ourselves and our community. Although ours is the entertainment community, we must believe that the spirit of our work at MPTF extends beyond that limited circle and has a positive impact on all who are touched by our efforts.

Over these 100 years, an uncountable number of acts of mercy, kindness, tenderness, and empathy have been performed by the staff of MPTF. They have been performed with dignity and respect, with steadfast dedication, and without regard to color, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or physical and mental condition. When taken together, all of these humble, selfless acts create the full picture of who we are as the MPTF community. They bind us together in common purpose, speak to who we are, the values we share, and reinforce our guiding principles.

Sadly, recent tragic events have reminded us that today, as a society, we are failing to live up to those guiding principles: We are failing to take care of our own. Black lives matter and we are not upholding that very fundamental truth.

We cannot bear witness to the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and the massive outpouring of grief and anguish in recent days without acknowledging that justice is not applied equally across racial lines. We cannot observe the disproportionate economic and health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on Americans of color, and not acknowledge that there is something seriously amiss with our health system. These are somber, sobering truths.

Mary Pickford said of MPTF, “we see a need and we fill it.” What is the need today, and how can we heed Mary’s words and work to fill it? The immediate need that we see right now is a need for honest dialogue and frank conversation. For those of us who have never experienced lifelong discrimination based solely on our physical appearance, our job is to listen with open hearts and minds to those who have. We must reaffirm that the lives and livelihoods and aspirations of those in communities of color matter to us.

These will—and should be—difficult conversations. It is our responsibility as members of a community—and as caring human beings dedicated to helping others—to challenge ourselves and those around us to wrestle with these issues, and to re-imagine a more inclusive, equitable future for our industry and our larger society. If we do nothing, and let this moment pass, we will be haunted time and again by the horribly unacceptable events of the past weeks.

As a first step, we are opening up the MPTF social platform for dialogue. We ask that you contribute constructive thoughts and messages, personal stories, ideas and programs, and narratives of others that will inspire us to think clearly and feel deeper, reach higher, and do better. As always at MPTF, we all play our part.