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United Church of Christ Office of Communication Inc. Monthly Newsletter

Worried about monolithic local media? UCC is leading the charge!
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Save the Date: Parker Lecture October 11, 2018.  UCC OC Inc. announced last week that the annual Parker Lecture will be held on October 11, 2018 in Washington DC at the First Congregational United Church of Christ. The annual lecture and awards ceremony is held in honor of OC Inc.'s founder, Rev. Dr. Everett C. Parker and is the only annual lecture event in the country to address the intersection of ethics, communications and technology.

Effort to Block Predatory Prison Phone Rates Moves to Congress. UCC OC Inc. is leading an effort to reinstate caps on predatory telephone rates and fees charged to inmates and their loved ones. In 2017, a number of important victories capping rates and fees were undermined when a court decision questioned the Federal Communications Commission's authority to act on fees charged locally, despite a federal statute giving the FCC authority. The bi-partisan Inmate Calling Technical Corrections Act introduced by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) would clarify that Congress intended the FCC to address the issue. Learn more.

Worried about Monolithic Local Media? Support OC Inc. Because Media Concentration Threatens Diversity & Democracy. On Wednesday May 9, lawyers for UCC OC Inc. filed declarations from UCC members around the country documenting the impact of media consolidation local communities. This is one part of OC Inc.'s strategy to block more media consolidation, including the Sinclair merger. By now you've surely heard about or seen the chilling video of local TV anchors at Sinclair Broadcasting stations around the country mouthing identical words that echo President Trump's attacks on the media. We at OC Inc. has been working on media diversity, speaking truth to power, since 1959, when inspired by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Rev. Everett C. Parker led the way in holding local television broadcasters to account for failing to serve their African-American viewers. OC Inc. is active in court, at the FCC, and in the public square working for a diverse, accountable media. Read more and support our work.

OC Inc. Helps Defend Low-Income Access to Broadband and Phone Services. A proposal from the Trump Federal Communications Commission would eliminate access to Lifeline for more than 70 percent of the current low-income households. Lifeline is the only federal program targeted at assisting low-income households with the cost of broadband and telephone service.  The proposal also could cap the program, require mandatory co-pays regardless of the cost of service, and impose lifetime benefits limits. UCC OC Inc. has been actively collaborating with its civil rights and technology rights partners to stop these proposals. Cheryl Leanza, our policy advisor, also participated in a webinar and a Congressional briefing to educate others about the proposal. With these outreach efforts, over seventy members of Congress have spoken out and hundreds of organizations, including many of the UCC's faith partners, have joined letters opposing the FCC action. 
FCC Commissioner Clyburn and Co-sponsors of her speech, "Where do we go from here?"

UCC OC Inc. Honored to Host Commissioner Clyburn Farewell Speech. UCC OC Inc. was honored to celebrate the almost 9 years of extraordinary service of Mignon L. Clyburn as a Commissioner and Acting Chair of the Federal Communications Commission. Clyburn delivered an emotional speech, noting that when she entered the sanctuary of First Congregational UCC in Washington, DC, she was “no less bothered by the many challenges that face us” but that she gained “a sense of comfort and ease” because of what the room represents, “the power of being united for change.” The sanctuary has become the regular venue for OC Inc.’s annual Everett C. Parker Lecture and Awards Breakfast, which honors Parker’s legacy of successfully challenging the broadcast license of a Mississippi television station for its news blackout of the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. Full video. Photos.


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