ORLANDO, FL – Rep. Val Demings served as honorary host of the inaugural Media Diversity Innovation Summit, held on Capitol Hill yesterday. The Summit, entitled “Taking Control of the Media Diversity Crisis,” organized by the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association (MMCA), is a seminal event challenging the status quo on media diversity in the United States. Innovation Summit Program.
Rep. Demings, a champion for diversity in media, joined industry leaders including Tanya Grieg Perara, EVP, Comcast NBC Universal; Tirrell D. Whittley, CEO, LIQUID SOUL; L. Londell McMillan, Attorney and Owner of The Source Magazine; Erika Alexander, Co-Founder of Color Farm Media; Detavio Samuels, President, Ione Digital, Urban One; Lori Hall, Senior Vice President, TV One; Award-winning Journalist Jeff Yang; Carla Santiago, co-Founder UNCMMN; Rashidi Hendrix, President, Metallic Entertainment Group; and other luminaries for robust conversations on how to support, scale and increase opportunities for people of color to profitably create, own, control and distribute media content.
The conversation also included the iconic civil rights pioneer Robert J. Brown, and trailblazing journalists Dorothy Butler Gilliam and Helen Zia, who shared their experiences breaking through barriers and helping to create the modern media industry.
Said Rep. Demings, “there are few things more impactful to a young child than to see someone who looks like them in a position of prominence and influence. Likewise, it is essential to a vibrant democracy to have a diversity of perspectives and experience in the marketplace of ideas. Though many industries have made great strides, media organizations still often struggle to display the great diversity of our country.
“The Media Diversity Innovation Summit was a strong new step in our work to diversify America’s media industry and include a variety of voices in our news and entertainment. Our country is at its best when every American can read, listen, and watch vibrant media that reflects the diversity of our great country.”
David Morgan, Founder and President of the MMCA, stated: “The need for greater media diversity is a national priority. MMCA is committed to moving the needle on media diversity and to be a trusted bridge that brings together policy makers and the media advocacy community to make an impact. As an advocate for and a resource to journalists, creatives and other media stakeholders of color, we are excited by the growing support for the MMCA and honored to have Congresswoman Val Demings (D-FL) as our honorary host for this extraordinary event. I know the best is yet to come.”
In the 115th Congress, Rep. Demings introduced House Resolution 888 to reaffirm Congress’ commitment to media diversity and convened a panel discussion which solicited expert testimony from stakeholders and media professionals.
In this Congress, Rep. Demings has formed the Media Diversity Congressional Brain Trust to support efforts to access and expand opportunities for professionals of color in the media industry.
Also participating in the panels were MMCA President David Morgan; media policy experts Alyssa G. Betz, Dante Simpson, Licy Do Canto, Don Lowery, and Mariela Rosario; and DuJuan McCoy.