Reverend Everett Parker, longtime White Plains resident, Staunch Defender of broadcast and cable freedom, Equality dies at 102

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Reverend Dr. Everett C. Parker

Rev. Dr. Everett C. Parker, longtime resident of White Plains,  passed away Thursday at the age of 102. He was the first director of Communications in 1957 for the newly-formed United Church of Christ, and instrumental in fighting for fairness and equality in radio and television.

For a complete and enlightening account of Dr. Parker’s achievements go to the New York Times account of his life at

Reverend Parker worked with George Tomie to develop White Plains Cable TV in the late 1980s and later was appointed to the White Plains Cable TV Commission, holding many meetings in his home and very fond and admiring of  the local producers who create original programs for White Plains Television.

Reverend Parker, a friend remembers, was still driving to Fordham to teach when he was 91 years of age.He was a staunch supporter of locally produced television programs, produced by residents, free to broadcast what they wanted, and was stubborn on issues of competant and modern broadcast standards at the station.

In his position as First Director of Communications for the United Church of Christ, he founded the United Church of Christ, Office of Communication, Inc., a media reform and accountability ministry with a civil rights agenda, that worked to improve the coverage and employment of women and people of color in broadcasting and other media.

Dr. Parker was named one of the most influential men in broadcasting by the trade publication Broadcasting Magazine and is featured in Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Television.

“My heart is broken today. I had the chance to work with Everett at the start of my career and visit with him many times after that. Everett was such a strong leader: his standards were always high, he was always thinking three moves ahead and was prepared for any contingency,” said Cheryl Leanza, the current policy advisor for UCC OC Inc.


“We will always be grateful for Dr. Parker’s role in bringing community voices to federal agencies. Much of the successful activism today related to Internet openness and media consolidation traces back to Dr. Parker’s work in the 1950s and 1960s,” noted Earl Williams, chair of UCC OC Inc. Before the litigation brought by UCC OC Inc. against the Federal Communications Commission in a famous duo of cases known as UCC v. FCC, ordinary people had no right to file comments or register their views at the FCC. Mr. Williams explained, “the millions of people who asked the FCC to protect net neutrality last year can credit Dr. Parker and his work at UCC OC Inc. for their right to do so.”

Dr. Parker’s work and career are commemorated every year in the Annual Parker Lecture and Award Ceremony. The next lecture will be held in Washington DC on October 20, 2015 and will feature a lecture by danah boyd and will honor activists Joseph Torres and Wally Bowen. Tickets and information are available on the UCC OC Inc. web site at

Dr. Parker’s family has graciously asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to UCC OC Inc.

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