Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn Acknowledged for Leadership on Prison Phone Justice; Center for Media Justice Founder Malkia Amala Cyril receives Donald McGannon Award at annual UCC Office of Communication annual Awards Breakfast and Lecture.
Top media executives, faith leaders, and social justice advocates gathered on Tuesday, October 1st, at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, DC, for the 31st Annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture honoring the work of media justice advocates.
The annual event is hosted each year by the United Church of Christ’s Office of Communication, Inc., the media justice ministry of the Protestant denomination of 5,700 local congregations. UCC established the Parker Lectureship in 1983 to advocate for the public’s rights in broadcasting. Dr. Everett C. Parker is credited with being the founder of the modern media reform movement as the founding Director of UCC’s Office of Communication, and for his pioneering work in challenging the FCC licensee qualification of segregationist Southern television stations, forming the basis for the FCC’s present-day civil rights jurisprudence. Parker is also a founding member of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council’s Board of Directors.
Hilary O. Shelton, head of the Washington office of the NAACP, delivered the annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture. UCC recognized Shelton’s advocacy for diversity in the media and his instrumental role in the passage of key pieces of federal communications legislation.
Albert H. Kramer received the Everett C. Parker Award, which recognizes individuals whose work embodies the principles and values of the public interest in telecommunications. Kramer, a top-flight communications lawyer, founded the Citizens’ Communication Center and spent 20 years on the board of directors of the Media Access Project and the Communications Consortium Media Center, among many other achievements.
Malkia Amala Cyril, founder of the Center for Media Justice and co-founder of the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAGNet), received the Donald H. McGannon Award, given in recognition of special contributions in advancing the roles of women and persons of color in the media, and in Cyril’s case, the media reform movement. Donald McGannon was president and chairman of the board of Westinghouse Broadcasting Corporation and served from 1973-1978 as president of the National Urban League. He graduated from Fordham University in 1940 and died in 1984. McGannon was a devoted advocate of broadcasting’s potential for good and was known for his efforts to improve the standards of radio and television broadcasting.
Hon. Mignon L. Clyburn, Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, attended the event despite the Federal government shutdown over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. UCC acknowledged Chairwoman Clyburn for her leadership in pushing the FCC to vote in August 2013 to end the exorbitant telephone rates that families and friends of prisoners were often forced to pay to stay in touch with their loved ones. The issue had been highlighted in 2012 when the Rev. Jesse Jackson delivered the Everett C. Parker Lecture.
MMTC’s Everett C. Parker Lifetime Achievement Award
MMTC confers a similar award named for Parker, the “Everett C. Parker Lifetime Achievement Award,” which is MMTC’s highest honor. Each year, MMTC confers the Parker Award on a distinguished citizen who has rendered the most distinguished service, over many years, to diversity and inclusion in the media and telecom industries. Former FCC Commissioners Robert W. McDowell and Jonathan S. Adelstein received MMTC’s 2013 award at its July Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference in Washington, DC.
Dr. Parker turned 100 this year, and he continues to actively serve on the MMTC Board of Directors.
Past recipients of MMTC’s Everett C. Parker Lifetime Achievement Award have been the following:
The United Church of Christ is a faith community rooted in justice that recognizes the unique power of the media to shape public understanding and thus society. UCC’s Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.), led by media social justice advocate Cheryl Leanza, works to create just and equitable media structures that give meaningful voice to diverse peoples, cultures and ideas. Established in 1959, OC Inc. ultimately established the right of all citizens to participate at the Federal Communications Commission as part of its efforts to ensure a television broadcaster in Jackson, MS, in 1957 served its African-American viewers during the civil rights movement. The Cleveland-based United Church of Christ has 5,700 local congregations across the United States.
- Maurita Coley, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of MMTC, is the former Executive Director of Capital Area Asset Builders and a former Partner at the Davis Wright Tremaine Law and Cole Raywid & Braverman law firms. She earned her law degree from Georgetown Law where she was a recipient of the 2011 Paul R. Dean Award, and she holds a BA in Communications from Michigan State University. Coley served on the BET executive management team in the 1990s.