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Karen Peltz Strauss, a longtime advocate for improved telecommunications services for people with disabilities, will be honored October 15 with the 38th annual Everett C. Parker Award, the United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry announced.

image of Karen Peltz Strauss

Karen Peltz Strauss

The annual award recognizes an individual whose work embodies the principles and values of the public interest in telecommunications and the media as demonstrated by the late Rev. Dr. Parker, founder of the UCC’s Office of Communications, Inc. (OC Inc.).


This year’s award will be conferred in a virtual online event. OC Inc. previously announced that this year’s Parker Lecture will be delivered by civil rights activist Valarie Kaur, leader of the Revolutionary Love Project.


Peltz Strauss will be recognized for more than three decades of advocacy work. When she retired as deputy chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at the end of 2018, she was credited for having been “a powerful force behind every major communications accessibility law in the last 25 years,” particularly those directed to the needs of the deaf community.


Among other things, Peltz Strauss played an instrumental role in developing Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (which required telephone relay services) and Sections 255 and 713 of the Communications Act, which mandated telecommunications access and television captioning. More recently, she helped organize a coalition of some 300 organizations that pushed through passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. She also helped create the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, which allocates $10 million a year to support free communications equipment to low-income persons who are both blind and deaf.


Before arriving at the FCC in 1999, Ms. Peltz Strauss served as supervising attorney at Gallaudet University's National Center for Law and Deafness and then as both legal counsel for telecommunications policy for the National Association of the Deaf and telecommunications legislative consultant for the Council of Organizational Representatives on National Issues Concerning People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.


The Parker Lecture was created in 1982 to recognize the Rev. Dr. Parker’s pioneering work as an advocate for the public’s rights in broadcasting. In more recent years, OC Inc. has played a leading role in advocacy around such policy issues as Net Neutrality, television network consolidation and prison telephone reform.


Tickets are available and come with a free copy of Kaur's new book, See No Stranger.

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