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danah boyd, Joseph Torres, and Wally Bowen to be honored.
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danah boyd, founder of named by Fortune magazine in 2010 as “the smartest academic in tech,” will deliver the 33rd annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Communication Lecture and Joseph Torres and Wally Bowen will be honored at the 2015 Parker Lecture and Breakfast. The event, organized by the United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry, the Office of Communication, Inc., will be held at 8 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 945 G St. NW, Washington, DC.

danah boyd describes herself  as “both an activist and a scholar” whose “research examines the intersection between technology and society.” With degrees from Brown, MIT and UC Berkeley, she is a visiting professor at New York University and a faculty affiliate at Harvard. Dr. boyd’s newest research focuses on the intersection of civil rights and big data analytics.  For over a decade, she focused on how young people use social media as part of their everyday practices. She documented her findings in two books: Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (2009) and It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (2014). Dr. boyd’s more recent work centers on the social and cultural dimensions of the "big data" phenomenon, with an eye to issues such as privacy and the civil rights implications of data analytics.  She is also a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder of Data & Society Research Institute.  She has worked as an ethnographer and social media researcher for various corporations, including Intel, Tribe.net, Google, and Yahoo! and serves on the board or advises Crisis Text Line, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center. 

Joseph Torres, senior external affairs director of Free Press, advocates in Washington to ensure that our nation’s media and telecom policies serve the public interest. He works closely with racial and media justice groups to ensure their voices are heard on key policy debates in the struggle for a more just and equitable media system.  Torres will receive the Everett C. Parker Award, given in recognition of an individual whose work embodies the principles and values of the public interest in telecommunications and the media.  He writes frequently on media and Internet issues and is also the co-author of The New York Times bestseller News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media.” The book documents the harms caused to communities of color by the media as well as the struggle waged by people of color for a just media system. Torres also serves on the board of directors of the Center for Media Justice and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. Before joining Free Press, Torres worked as deputy director of the National Association of Hispanic journalists.

Wally Bowen, a nationally-known advocate for local self-reliance via local ownership of media infrastructure, will receive the Donald H. McGannon Award. This year’s McGannon award is being given in recognition of Wally’s dedication to bringing modern telecommunications to low-income people in rural areas. He is the co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) in Asheville, N.C., a nonprofit internet service provider that offers internet service in western North Carolina. He is also the founder of the low power FM station WPVM and a former member of the North Carolina Rural Internet Access Authority. Wally’s vision and commitment to serving underserved people in rural areas inspired him to create MAIN in 1996 when only two counties in western North Carolina were served by commercial Internet Service Providers. He also led a decade-long effort to create the first public access TV channel in the mountain region of North Carolina. In these roles and others, Wally advocates that media reform needs to be accountable to our communities. He was an early advocate of locally-owned “middle-mile” fiber networks, such as ERC Broadband and Pangaea, while representing western North Carolina on the N.C. Rural Internet Access Authority. Bowen is the author of Local Network Cookbook (2009).

The Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture was created in 1982 to recognize the Rev. Dr. Everett C. Parker, founder of OC, Inc., and his pioneering work as an advocate for the public's rights in broadcasting. The event is the only lecture in the country to examine telecommunications in the digital age from an ethical perspective. Past speakers have included network presidents, Congressional leaders, and FCC chairs and commissioners, as well as academics, cable and telephone executives and journalists. More information is available at bit.ly/parkerlecture2015.
The Cleveland-based United Church of Christ, a Protestant denomination with more than 1 million members and nearly 5,200 local congregations nationwide, recognizes the unique power of the media to shape public understanding and thus society as a whole. For this reason, the UCC’s OC, Inc. has worked since its founding in 1959 to create just and equitable media structures that give a meaningful voice to diverse peoples, cultures and ideas.

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