Rosenworcel, Duckworth to be honored at 41st annual Parker Lecture Oct. 24

Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworcel will deliver the 2023 Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) will be recognized with this year’s Everett C. Parker Award.

The annual breakfast and awards ceremony, hosted by the United Church of Christ’s Media Justice Ministry, will be held Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 8 a.m. at First Congregational UCC in Washington, D.C., and will be simultaneously live-streamed.

Consistent champion for connecting all

The 41st Annual Parker Lecture will offer Rosenworcel an opportunity to reflect on her impact on the world of communications policy. By the time of this year’s lecture, Rosenworcel will have become the longest-serving FCC commissioner of anyone appointed since 1975, giving her a unique perspective on the range of telecommunications issues that impact society today.

She became a commissioner in 2012 and was designated as the agency’s acting chair and later permanent chair by President Biden in 2021. Previously, she served as senior communications counsel for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Under her FCC leadership, the agency has worked to promote greater opportunity, accessibility and affordability for communications services to help ensure that all Americans get a fair shot at 21st-century success.

From fighting to protect net neutrality to ensuring access to the internet for students caught in the Homework Gap, Rosenworcel has been a consistent champion for connecting all. She is responsible for developing policies to help expand the reach of broadband to schools, libraries, hospitals and households across the country. Under her leadership, the FCC adopted two orders improving access and affordability of communications for incarcerated people and moved quickly to implement the Affordable Connectivity Program, providing high-speed broadband internet subsidies to low-income people.

Honored for service and leadership

Sen. Duckworth will be recognized with the Everett Parker Award, given to an individual whose work embodies the spirit and mission of the late Rev. Everett Parker, who founded the UCC Media Justice Ministry in 1959 under its former name, Office of Communication, Inc. (OC Inc.).

Duckworth will be honored for her leadership in the passage of the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act early this year. The law gave the FCC the authority it needed to establish maximum rates for communications providers serving prisons, jails and similar facilities — including in-state rates. Passage of the legislation capped a decade of work by UCC Media Justice to help incarcerated persons stay in touch with their loved ones without paying exorbitant rates for communications services.

Duckworth was elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving two terms in the U.S. House. In 2004, she lost her legs and partial use of one arm during service with the Illinois National Guard during the Iraq War. She later advocated for veterans as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and as an assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Obama administration.

She is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. After she became the first senator to give birth while in office, she sent a symbolic message to the rest of the country by working for historic rules change that allows senators to bring their infant children onto the Senate floor.

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.

Tickets for the event are available on Eventbrite.

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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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