Thomas: UCC remains committed to media advocacy

Thomas: UCC remains committed to media advocacy

July 31, 2007
Written by Daniel Hazard

"All who look to the UCC for leadership in this work should remain confident." — John H.Thomas, General Minister and President

The UCC will continue its 50-year tradition of media justice advocacy, despite the resignation of the head of its media advocacy organization.

The Rev. Robert Chase, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc. (OC, Inc.), has announced that he is leaving his post of eight years to become director of a New York-based justice  organization.

"Bob Chase's inspired leadership of OC, Inc., in partnership with [managing director and attorney] Cheryl Leanza, has helped the UCC build on the remarkable legacy in media advocacy that Everett Parker pioneered," said the Rev. John H. Thomas, general minister and president. "The commitment to justice in the media and to access for all remains a central mission for us. All who look to the UCC for leadership in this work should remain confident of our commitment to excellence in the work of OC, Inc., in the years ahead."

In addition to serving as executive director of OC., Inc., Chase also served as the leader of the denomination's Proclamation, Identity and Communication Ministry in Cleveland. The UCC will conduct a full search for Chase's successor, Thomas says.

During Chase's years at the helm of OC, Inc., the historic media justice organization has dramatically expanded its operation, re-opened an office in Washington, D.C., and hired staff to address issues of minority ownership, low power FM radio, children's educational television, media consolidation and net neutrality.

"These efforts spring from our historic commitment to civil rights," Chase said.  "Empowering historically marginalized communities to find their voice remains at the center of our work. It has been a privilege to be associated with this legacy, begun by Everett Parker almosta half century ago."

Leanza says OC, Inc.'s legacy and reputation keep it in a strong position to continue to fight for media justice in the years ahead.

"OC, Inc.'s staff, board and supporters will be working to ensure a smooth transition and the successful implementation of our existing projects and our new initiatives, including increased outreach to the faith community," Leanza said.

In light of his contributions to the media justice movement, Chase will be the featured speaker at the 25th annual Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture at the National Press Club on Sept. 18.

Since 1959, at the urging of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the UCC has been a leading advocate for those historically excluded from the media. The Rev. Everett C. Parker, OC, Inc.'s founding director, initiated landmark court cases that have established the principle that the airwaves belong to the people, not corporations.

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