FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel's Remarks at 41st Annual Everett C. Parker Lecture

The Parker Lecture matters because Everett Parker matters. He stood for justice and stood up to the FCC when it approved the license of a Jackson, Mississippi television station that was suppressing Black voices. He petitioned the agency to change course and he had something I think is common to all changemakers—tenacity. Because he took that case all the way to the Supreme Court. And he prevailed in a milestone decision that opened the door for an African American to lead WLBT and for more minority voices to be broadcast over the airwaves. In one of his last interviews, at age 99, he said, “I want them to remember that I was a guy who fought like the devil for the rights of minorities.” He can rest assured that we remember because none of us will ever forget Everett Parker. Looking at this list of past speakers (at this event), I also noticed that the first FCC Chair to deliver this address was Reed Hundt back in 1994. That was a long time ago. It was the very beginning of the internet era. Back then, maybe you called the internet the “information superhighway.” I know I did. I decided to take a look at the remarks of my predecessor. When I did, something quickly caught my eye. He thanked UCC Media Justice, which was then known as the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ. He said: “We can’t afford to deny anyone the opportunity to enjoy the communications revolution. In this regard, your organization has been particularly important.” He went on to say that you have “provided the Commission with valuable input . . . on critical issues ranging from cable television to equal employment opportunities and,” wait for it, “electronic redlining.”

Rosenworcel Remarks at 41st Annual Everett C. Parker Lecture