Dr. Alisa Valentin, senior director of technology and telecommunications policy at the Washington Bureau of the National Urban League, will receive the 2023 Donald H. McGannon Award, the United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry.

As previously announced, Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworcel will deliver the 2023 Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) will receive this year’s Everett C. Parker Award at the annual breakfast and awards ceremony. It will be held at 8 a.m. on Tuesday October 24 at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington and will be simultaneously live-streamed.

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The McGannon Award celebrates persons who have worked to improve the media in its service to all people. It is named for Donald McGannon, who was the president of Westinghouse Broadcasting Company for twenty-five years and a vocal advocate of social responsibility in radio and television.

Dr. Valentin will be honored for her expertise and consistent work to bring more diverse perspectives into policy-making on technology, media and telecommunications. During a fellowship at Public Knowledge, Dr. Valentin published a hard-hitting blog #TechPolicySoWhite and reformed the organization’s annual Emerging Tech Conference, renaming it Emerging Tech for Social Change. Dr. Valentin collaborated to draft a guide, titled A Seat at the Table: Creating Inclusive Tech Policy Organizations, filled with practical, actionable tips to help tech-policy organizations become more inclusive. While serving as a special advisor to FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, she focused on issues such as broadband access and adoption, prison phone justice, and future of work policies that center communities of color and low-income people. In response to the country’s movement for racial justice, she assisted Commissioner Starks in launching the FCC’s Early Career Staff Diversity Initiative to diversify the tech and telecommunications policy space by providing paid internships to underrepresented students and increased recruitment from HBCUs and other MSIs. In her current position at the National Urban League, Dr. Valentin is once again spotlighting how technology policy impacts people of color, particularly when it comes to economic empowerment in areas ranging from spectrum policy to artificial intelligence.

Dr. Valentin also has dedicated her time to sharing knowledge with others through teaching. She teaches media law and policy courses as an adjunct professor at Norfolk State University. She has also taught at Howard University, Trinity Washington University, Northern Virginia Community College, and Montgomery College. Dr. Valentin holds a Ph.D. in Communications from Howard University, an M.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, and a B.S. in Telecommunications from the University of Florida.

For more details on the Parker Lecture, including tickets and sponsorship opportunities, see the UCC Media Justice website at: https://uccmediajustice.org/Parker-lecture-2023.

About the UCC’s media justice ministry and the Parker Lecture

The UCC Media Justice Ministry is the media justice instrumentality of the United Church of Christ denomination, which includes approximately 5,000 congregations and nearly three quarters of a million members. Rev. Dr. Parker was inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to reform television coverage of the civil rights movement in the South. The advocacy of OC Inc., UCCMJM’s predecessor, established the right of community members—not just corporate entities and licensees—to participate before the FCC and compelled the FCC to deny the broadcast license renewal of the pro-segregationist television station WLBT-TV in Jackson, Miss., in 1969 for failing to serve the public interest.

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. The Parker Lecture is the only program of its kind in the United States that examines telecommunications in the digital age from an ethical perspective.

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