“This year is a particularly auspicious year because of the 30th anniversary of the lecture and also the 100th birthday of Rev. Parker,” said Cheryl Leanza, policy advisor for the OC, Inc. “The UCC Justice Ministry has had a great relationship with Rev. Jackson’s organization, Rainbow PUSH, and we are really looking forward to his lecture this fall.”
Jackson is one of America’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. In 1971, he founded Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) in Chicago. The goals of Operation PUSH were economic empowerment and expanding educational, business and employment opportunities for the disadvantaged and people of color. In 1984, Jackson founded the National Rainbow Coalition, a social justice organization based in Washington, D.C., devoted to political empowerment, education and changing public policy. In September of 1996, the Rainbow Coalition and Operation PUSH merged to form the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to continue the work of both organizations.
An ordained Baptist minister, Jackson earned a Master of Divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary, an affiliated seminary of the United Church of Christ. In August 2000, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton. Jackson ran for president in 1984 and 1988, and was elected as the “shadow” U.S. senator for the District of Columbia in 1991.
Rev. Everett Parker played a leading role in the development of public interest of American television. He served as director of the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ from 1954-1983. He is best known for his leadership in the development of influential media reform directed at improved broadcast employment prospects for women and minorities. The Parker Lecture was created in 1982 to recognize Parker’s pioneering work as an advocate for the public’s rights in broadcasting.
This year’s Parker Lecture will be delivered in the sanctuary of First Congregational United Church of Christ, founded by abolitionists in 1865 as the first racially integrated church in Washington, D.C. The congregation has been at its current location at 10th and G Streets NW since 1869.
OC, Inc. is the media justice arm of the United Church of Christ, founded in 1959 to reform television stations in the south that were doing a poor job of covering the Civil Rights Movement. Since its founding, the OC, Inc. has worked to ensure that women, minorities and low-income persons have equal access to ownership, production, employment and decision making in media. The Parker Lecture is the only lecture in the country to examine telecommunications in the digital age from an ethical perspective.
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