Tracey Quezada, the winner of the 2019 Ford “Empowering America” Scholarship, submitted this video profiling Danielle Castro, a transgender, Latina activist. Tracey is pursuing a Masters in Journalism at UC Berkeley.
Tracey Quezada, the winner of the 2019 Ford “Empowering America” Scholarship, submitted this video profiling Danielle Castro, a transgender, Latina activist. Tracey is pursuing a Masters in Journalism at UC Berkeley.
If all determination is through negation, then disability is not inability, nor is it a lack of strength, desire or resolve. (Dis)ability is an opportunity to explore what it means to be a human being in all of our infinite glory. The Latin prefix dis- means ‘apart’; disability as apart from ability, but not as mutually exclusive. What may constrain a person in one area may liberate them in another through the gift of profound insight. Some of humanity’s most important discoveries were born from the minds of those who struggled with disabilities, people whose experience of time & the universe were unlike the experiences of others. Among those who have contributed groundbreaking insight to humankind include dyslexic Albert Einstein, who gave us the theory of relativity; theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, bound to a wheelchair & dependent on a computerized voice, transported us to other dimensions of space-time with a theory of cosmology; A Beautiful Mind mathematician John Nash Jr closed gaps in game theory with his internal life rich with numbers & schizophrenic characters; Thomas Edison, America’s greatest inventor of the motion picture camera, electric light bulb & more, made use of a hearing aid; & life-long disability advocate Helen Keller, who touched the lives of millions with her unparalleled vision for peace & radical progress even though she couldn’t see or hear a thing. I believe that Ability is a philosophy of life rooted in the spirit of the scientific method, for better it is to try, fail & try again, then never to have tried at all.
Language is the key, but where is the door? The words we choose to define our lives, ourselves, & each other are inextricably tied to the outcomes we receive. Words take shape, giving form to ideas like seeds give sprout to trees in an old growth forest. My speech impediment led me to study my voice & language, practices that serve me well as the artist, actress & writer I am. I may not have pronounced clearly my ‘R’s’ until the age of thirteen, but that didn’t stop me from speaking poetry as a child or my truth loud enough to send the man who molested me years earlier to prison in third grade – the same year I started speech therapy. To some, I could have been from New England, while others insisted I spoke like a baby. Random kids I’d never seen or met before would demand I entertain them a few sentences as I’d try to pass in the hallway. They’d sneak in one more laugh, meanwhile I’d find another time & place pretending to be dinosaurs with a few friends on the school’s front lawn. But even my best friends couldn’t resist the temptation to interrupt me mid-sentence to showcase their best rendition of “I park my car in Harvard yard” & wait for me to say it in turn. “C’mon, say it: I pahk my cah in Hahvahd yahd”, they’d push until I’d cave like the prehistoric bones in my velociraptor body.
The year preceding my graduation from speech therapy was wild: my brother & I were homeless, Columbine happened, Clinton faced impeachment & my Grandma died while the whole world watched, anxious with anticipation as Y2K came & never showed up. But I was used to things & people not showing up by then. As someone who overcame my impediment later in life & a child of foster care, I was surprised to learn that 70% of children in the foster system struggle with an impediment or disability. I am beyond grateful for my school for identifying my speech impediment & getting me the therapy I needed. I even looked forward to the hour I’d spend every Friday during my Physical Education class working on my speech while my peers ran a mile around the racetrack. Instead I got to be inside perusing images, shapes, colors, & syllables while practicing my ‘R’ sound in a small room wedged between the main office & the boys’ bath woom – excuse me: room. To this day I slip up in speech when I’m anxious, but my therapist taught me there is nothing we cannot achieve when we take our time & articulate our target outcome into a series of clear, identifiable steps. Figuring out how different parts of my tongue fit into the corners of my upper cleft & met my individual teeth was like finding a whole new landscape within myself – a body map defined yet free from border. In facing my struggle, I discovered new parts of my Self.
I believe in the power of film to ignite social change, catalyze catharsis for self-growth & most importantly: heal. I hope to use my story to help people. Music, myth & metaphor are the three most powerful signatures in the world, which is why I cherish the art of cinema. I aim to maximize my focus over these next few years in my educational career so I may pay this debt forward in the aspiration of helping others. My next great challenge is to honor the girl I raised to turn the page & deliver her story to the big screen. As an actress, artist, & activist, I can appreciate that some of the greatest moments in our lives have the power to render us disabled: the butterfly in our stomach that takes our breath away, the cries of a man as he screams “I can’t breathe’ that render us speechless, or the depressive spell that seeps into every facet of our lives & cripples our spirit. Whether it be physical, that moment we jumped & took a risk, or something intangible, extreme vulnerability harbors an ancient wealth, 1 a secret gem unique to each individual that only she can mine, for in the struggle of its discovery holds the truth behind what makes the human spirit the most dynamic force in the world, as the butterfly strengthens its wings breaking from its cocoon to fly.
On my last day in speech therapy, my therapist paused, expressing concern about my ‘-ing’ sound. I let out a sigh resounding throughout the hallway, closing the door behind me as she pulled out a deck of cards I’d never seen before. I read them off for her one at a time:
“How’s that,” I begged her, “is that good enough?”
She smiled & said, “You’re good to go”.
TODAY’s Sheinelle Jones to Host and Pop Artist Brynn Elliott to Perform
on June 26 at Cipriani 42nd Street
The leadership of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) announces that Erin Moriarty, “48 Hours” correspondent, will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 44th Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon to be presented to her by Susan Zirinsky, president and senior executive producer, CBS News. Hosting the luncheon will be another television news veteran, Sheinelle Jones, co-anchor of “Weekend TODAY” and co-host of the “3rd Hour of TODAY.” The annual Gracies Luncheon set for June 26 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City honors individual achievement and outstanding programming at the local level for television and radio, public radio and students in television, radio and interactive media.
The Gracie Awards recognize exemplary content created by, for and about women in all facets of media and entertainment. Given this year to Moriarty, who has covered some of the biggest crime and justice stories for three decades for CBS News, the Gracies Lifetime Achievement Award honors a woman in media who exemplifies and embodies the essence of the iconic trailblazer, the late Gracie Allen, the namesake of The Gracie Awards.
“The Gracie Awards celebrate the bravery of storytellers to share relevant, compelling content while pushing boundaries to create an environment of equality,” said AWM/F Chair Christine Travaglini, President, Katz Radio Group. AWM/F Executive Director Becky Brooks added, “Throughout her 40-year journalism career, Erin Moriarty’s well-researched, diligent approach to covering stories about crime and justice, about consumer issues and much more has been consistent and illustrates why she is so worthy of this Lifetime Achievement Award. Through the Gracies, we are incredibly proud to honor and celebrate outstanding talent and content by, for and about women.”
Highlights of Moriarty’s award-winning career include:
Due to her training as a lawyer, Moriarty has covered some of the most important social and legal issues in the last three decades, including cold cases, DNA testing of evidence in death-row cases, wrongful convictions and spousal abuse. She was also part of the team that covered the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting, which earned CBS News a DuPont-Columbia award.
“This is an incredible honor to receive this Gracie from the Alliance for Women in Media,” said Erin Moriarty. “It is truly humbling to be recognized with this award and to join the list of notable women who have come before me. It is because of this organization that I, and so many others, have flourished in our profession.”
Gracies Luncheon host Sheinelle Jones is a co-anchor of NBC News’ “Weekend TODAY”, a co-host of “3rd Hour of TODAY” and she hosts “TODAY’s” digital series, “Through Mom’s Eyes” whileco-hosting “Off the Rails”, a Sirius XM radio show with NBC’s Al Roker and Dylan Dreyer. Jones joined “TODAY” in 2014 and has since covered breaking news events and human-interest stories. Prior to joining “TODAY”, she served as co-host of FOX’s “Good Day Philadelphia.”
“It’s an honor to host the Gracies and to be among the most inspiring, empowering and talented women in our business,” said Jones.
Performing at the Luncheon will be singer-songwriter Brynn Elliott. In the past few years, Elliott has signed with Atlantic Records, graduated from Harvard University and played over 250 shows. Brynn has performed on the “TODAY” show, MTV’s “TRL”, and “Live with Kelly and Ryan” and has spent the last year touring with artists such as Why Don’t We and AJ Mitchell.
The National Gracie Award
honorees were recognized at the Gracies Gala, May 21, at The Beverly Wilshire
in Beverly Hills. A full list of
recipients may be found on the Alliance for Women in Media website. For more
information about the 2019 Gracies Luncheon or to secure tickets, please visit HERE.
About the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation and The Gracie Awards – The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (formerly known as The Foundation of American Women in Radio & Television) supports and promotes educational programs, and scholarships to benefit the media, the public, and allied fields. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation has created partnerships and joint initiatives with the Emma Bowen Foundation, NCTA, NAB and other organizations that are philosophically aligned with the mission of the Foundation. In addition to giving $20,000 a year in scholarships to deserving female students, the Foundation also produces nationally acclaimed recognition programs, including the Gracie Awards that exemplary honor programming created by, for and about women. For more information about The Alliance for Women in Media, please visit: allwomeninmedia.org and follow on Twitter, Instagram (@AllWomeninMedia) (#TheGracies), and Facebook. Sponsors of The Gracies Luncheon include Beasley Media Group, CBS Corporation, Cox Media Group, Cumulus Media, Discovery, Inc., Entercom, Hofstra, iHeartMedia, Inc., Katz Media Group, Lerman Senter, NAB, NBC, NCTA – The Internet and Television Association, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tegna, Townsquare Media, and vCreative.
For my final blog post for the Alliance for Women in Media, I wanted to express my gratitude for the organization and all that it does to advance diversity and inclusion in the industry.
Formed in 1951, the organization was known as the American Women in Radio and Television and was a part of the women’s division of the National Association of Broadcasters. That same year, Marguerite Higgins became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. It was a historic time for women in the industry, however women were not being recognized to the same degree as their male colleagues, nor did they have the same professional opportunities.
As time went on, the Alliance for Women in Media continued to develop new ways to advance opportunities for women. In 1960 the alliance became the first professional broadcasting organization to establish an educational foundation, and in 1975, they began an annual award program recognizing the people in the media that represented the changing roles, issues, and concerns of women. Around that time Cosmopolitan Magazine relaunched as a magazine for women with Helen Gurley Brown as its first Editor in Chief and a few years later, Barbara Walters became the first female news anchor on network television. In 1978 Boylan et al v. The New York Times became a landmark case for female journalists. The ruling allowed women the same promotion opportunities as men as well as equal pay.
Despite these groundbreaking moments, there is still work for the Alliance to do. A report from the United Nations, that utilize research spanning more than 100 countries, found that 46% of news stories, in print and on radio and television, uphold gender stereotypes, while only 6% highlight gender equality. According to another global study spanning 522 news media organizations, behind the scenes, men still occupy 73% of top media management positions. Additionally, while women represent half of the world’s population, less than one third of all speaking characters in film are female.
From 1951 to today, the work the Alliance for Women in Media does is vitally important to the longevity of the media industry. Their scholarships support young women across the industry at schools all over the nation in their pursuit of journalism, communication, film and other degrees. The Gracie Awards allow those who work tirelessly to better the industry a moment of recognition and the programming and events the Alliance works on allows women to network and learn from experts in the industry.
I feel immensely grateful to have been selected to represent the Alliance this year. The scholarship I received has helped me pursue my MA in Strategic Communication and better understand the media landscape and the issues facing the industry today. I look forward to participating in events with the Alliance for Women in Media long after my scholarship comes to an end.
SANDRA OH, TISHA THOMPSON, RACHEL MADDOW, CONNIE BRITTON, ELIZABETH PERKINS, PATRICIA ARQUETTE,
AND LEAH REMINI AMONG HONOREES;
CEREMONY TO TAKE PLACE MAY 21 IN LOS ANGELES
Local and Student Award Winners to be Honored at the Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 26 in New York City Honored at the Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 26 in New York City
LOS ANGELES (April 16, 2019) – The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) announced the winners of the 44th annual Gracie Awards to take place May 21 at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. The event will recognize such esteemed honorees as Sandra Oh, Tisha Thompson, Rachel Maddow, Connie Britton, Elizabeth Perkins, Patricia Arquette, Leah Remini, Robin Roberts, Laura Lynch, Rachel Bloom, Angela Yee, Maura Tierney, Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, along with some of the most talented women in television, radio and digital media. Local and student award winners will be recognized at the Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 26 at Cipriani in New York City.
Becky Brooks, Executive Director, Alliance for Women in Media Foundation stated, “Our leadership is proud to honor the best of the best who embody the spirit and intention of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s Gracie Awards.” Christine Travaglini, President, Katz Radio Group and Chair of the Board of Directors continued, “In the more than four decades since the inception of the Gracie Awards – what stands out in 2019 is bravery. The courage of storytellers to share poignant, relevant and compelling content. This will be a year of true celebration.”
The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, cable and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local and student markets, including both commercial and non-commercial outlets.
In the fourth consecutive year as Executive Producer, Vicangelo Bulluck will spotlight these prolific women in the industry who continue to inspire and support others, break down barriers, and lead by example in creating opportunity for future generations.
Sponsors of The Gracies include Ford Motor Company, Crown Media Group, CNN, CBS Corporation, Discovery, Inc., NCTA – The Internet and Television Association, NPR, Premiere Networks, SiriusXM, Katz Media Group, Sun Broadcast Group, Beasley Media Group, Cox Media Group, vCreative, Entercom and Hofstra University.
To see the full list of winners, visit
As I sat and watched the 91st Academy Awards from my couch on Sunday, February 24th, I couldn’t help but notice that the awards this time felt a little different. Seeing women like Yalitza Aparicio and Regina King nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, was a truly exciting moment and got me thinking about the importance of representation. While Hollywood still has a long way to go, some of this year’s biggest blockbuster hits, like Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther, have done a great job elevating the conversation about representation in the media.
Carlos Cortes, author of The Children Are Watching: How the Media Teach About Diversity, offers a significant example of why representation matters in his article “A Long Way to Go: Minorities and the Media”. Cortes examines a 1986 episode of The $25,000 Pyramid, where one contestant was attempting to give his partner clues to help him guess the word on screen correctly and earn money. During this specific episode, the word “gangs” came up on the cluer’s screen. Cortes explains, “without hesitation, he fired out the first thing that came to his mind: ‘They have lots of these in East L.A.” (a heavily Mexican-American area of Los Angeles). Responding at once, his guest celebrity partner answered, gangs. Under competitive pressure, two strangers had immediately and viscerally linked “East LA” with “gangs.” Cortes goes on to explain that representation in mass media is to blame for this immediate association of gangs and a predominantly Latino part of Los Angeles. Cortes states that “the entertainment media have offered a comparatively narrow range of other Latino characters, while the news media have provided relatively sparse coverage of other Hispanic topics, except for such problem” issues as immigration and language. The result has been a Latino public image — better yet, a stereotype — in which gangs figure prominently.”
Cortes’ assessment is an important one. It is the job of media professionals to make sure everyone sees themselves accurately represented in movies and news stories, and while we are far from a perfectly representative media landscape, we are making great strides to tell better, more inclusive stories. Media professionals across the country must continue to make commitments to tell more diverse stories so that more young woman can look at their televisions and say, “She looks like me”.
2019 Gracie Awards Garner Record Number of Entries
February 14, 2019, New York City/Los Angeles – The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) has announced that the 2019 call for entries for the annual Gracie Awards was the most successful in the program’s history.
The Gracies are the largest fundraising event by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AWM that supports educational programs, charitable activities and scholarships to benefit women in media. The milestone comes as AWM and its Foundation (AWM/F) announce their 2019 National Board of Directors. New to the AWM Board are Abby Greensfelder, co-founder & co-owner, Half Yard Productions, Brenda Hetrick, chief revenue officer, Matrix Solutions, and Katherine Wolfgang, head of public relations, CBC.
“The number and caliber of extraordinary programs and performances entered for the 2019 Gracie Awards is an unprecedented milestone for the AWM/F,” said AWM/F executive director Becky Brooks. “Gracies Judges – women and more men than ever before – include executives and talent from across every form of media. They have their work cut out for them in deciding the 2019 winners from this exceptional pool of nominees.”
“The role of the AWM and Foundation boards is to lead our organizations and industry as we recognize, connect and educate women in radio, television and interactive media,” stated Christine Travaglini, AWM/F board chair and president, Katz Radio Group. “We are thrilled to have these talented, accomplished women joining our leadership for the next two years.”
Keisha Sutton James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, will serve as incoming chair, Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency, will serve as Treasurer. Josie Thomas, executive vice president, chief diversity and inclusion officer, CBS Corporation, will serve as treasurer-elect, while Sarah Foss, senior vice president, strategic initiatives, Freewheel Advertisers at FreeWheel will serve as immediate past chair.
The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large of AWM: Joyce Fitch, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc.; Jinny Laderer, president, vCreative; Meg LaVigne, president of television, Litton Entertainment; Kelly DeLace Perdomo, vice president, content, sports, entertainment, and partnership marketing, SiriusXM; and Diane Schwartz, SVP and group publisher, Access Intelligence.
The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large of AWMF: Anne Cowan, senior vice president, communications and marketing, CTAM; Annie Howell, co-founder and managing partner, The Punch Point Group; Deborah Parenti, publisher, RadioInk, RBR and TVBR; Rob Stoddard, SVP program network policy, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association; and Kristen Welch, chief financial officer, Illustrative Mathematics.
The 44th Annual Gracie Awards Gala will take place May 21, 2019, at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, A Four Seasons Hotel, and the Gracie Awards Luncheon will be held June 26, 2019, in New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street.
The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, cable and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local and student markets, including both commercial and non-commercial outlets. Please visit http://allwomeninmedia.org/gracies/ for more information about the Gracie Awards, and to apply to participate as a judge.
About the Alliance for Women in Media (AWM): The Alliance for Women in Media connects, recognizes and inspires women across the media industry. AWM is a diverse community – whether type of media, job or global location – that facilitates industry-wide collaboration, education, and innovation. Established in 1951 as American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT), AWM is the longest-established professional association dedicated to advancing women in media and entertainment. AWM harnesses the promise, passion and power of women in all forms of media to empower career development, engage in thought leadership, and drive positive change for our industry and societal progress.
About the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation: In 1960, the Alliance for Women in Media became the first professional broadcasting organization to establish an educational foundation. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (formerly known as The Foundation of American Women in Radio & Television) supports and promotes educational programs, charitable activities, public service campaigns and scholarships to benefit the public, the electronic media and allied fields. The Foundation also produces nationally acclaimed recognition programs, including the Gracie Awards®, honoring exemplary programming created by, for or about women and individual achievement. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, educational organization. For the latest news on the Gracies, follow The Gracies on Twitter and Facebook. For more information about the Gracie Awards and to submit your entries, please visit www.allwomeninmedia.org/gracies.
Early morning breakfast meeting.
Off the record politics briefing.
Breaking news at the White House.
Rehearsal for the class play.
Basketball practice for one kid and a basketball game for the other kid AT THE SAME TIME.
In my house, we call this a “Friday”. Seven days a week our days are packed to the max. Choices have to be made. Levels have to be set. And at times, hearts have to be broken. This is a reality I have to face as a journalist, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a partner. You can’t do everything all the time and you can’t do everything perfectly. This is something I’ve had to accept over the course of time and it has changed my life.
From my perspective, the “secret sauce” to being able to do it all is accepting the fact that you can’t do it all perfectly. You have to make choices and prioritize. You have to choose when you can say no to that work event (I said no to one today). Or when you have to say no to a non-critical event with your family (I said no to one yesterday). Or when a little extra sleep is a better self-care decision than staying on the phone a bit longer (I said good night early last night). It’s not about saying no or yes, it’s about balance. It’s all about balance. It’s being able to go to sleep at night (even if it’s a little early) knowing you’ve said yes to the most important things most of the time. And that your NOs are balanced across all areas of your life. No one area feels slighted or neglected if you balance these decisions and they understand why you are saying no.
The tradeoff to living in this state of balance is worth it. Every day I serve as a News Executive is a day my daughter has a real life role model of a woman who is a leader, a decision maker and a guide for other journalists. It’s a day my son learns more and more that leaders come in all shapes, sizes and colors. He comes from a line of very strong women—I don’t think he’s ever thought women can’t or shouldn’t be among the most powerful in the room. On those days when I miss a game because of a Presidential summit or have to skip back to school night because it fell on the same evening as the State of the Union, my duo knows it’s for a good reason. My company knows if I have to miss a late night because my daughter is overcoming her stage fright to recite the Pledge of Allegiance during the Winter Concert (true story), it’s important to me and my family and they support me 100%.
We as women at times put pressure on ourselves to be perfect at all times. We can be highly self-critical when we can’t be. We have to not only accept that we can’t be perfect, but stop making this a goal. Embrace the upside of being in demand. Own the fact that you are multi-dimensional and multi-focused. Be comfortable with saying no to people or responsibilities you love when you need to. And realize your children are learning from you when you are feeding your passion-even when your passions fall outside of the time you spend with them.
Rashida Jones, Senior Vice President for Specials, NBC News and MSNBC
When Glamour Magazine announced their women of the year issue, I knew it would be nothing short of amazing. What I wasn’t prepared for was one of the best journalistic, power-woman combos of 2018: Yamiche Alcindor writing about Kamala Harris.
As a California native, Kamala Harris’ rise to political stardom is one I have watched closely. She is the only African American woman in the Senate, and its first ever Indian America. She has made a name for herself championing the rights of women and minorities, and prior to serving in the Senate was the Attorney General of California, where she took on cases that reshaped California’s legal landscape.
Alcindor is one of those journalists whose careers you dream of when you’re a little girl. She’s written about some of the most consequential events in the last decade including the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the Ferguson unrest, and the Baltimore protests.
As I read the story, I couldn’t help but stop and take in what was occurring. Two women of color, sitting down for a national news outlet, elevating a story and a voice that would have otherwise been drowned out fifty years ago. The piece, which details Kamala’s political career and background, is written with a kind of careful consideration that only women can provide to one and other.
Upon finishing the story, I was able to reflect on what an incredible moment in history we are living in. The piece inspired me to go back into my internet history and find some of my favorite profiles, written by and about women and post them to Twitter. “Women are an amazing, powerful force and I am inspired by the ones around me every day,” I wrote. “Here is a thread of profiles I’ve read in the last few months that make me hopeful for our future,” and with that I listed out some of the pieces that I found strength in this past year. They include Claire McCaskill’s Toughest Fight, Kamala Harris Is on the Rise, How Maya Rudolph Became the Master of Impressions, Aly Raisman Takes the Floor, The Quiet Power of Viola Davis, She Founded Me Too. Now She Wants to Move Past the Trauma, and What Does Tulsi Gabbard Believe?
I am reminded of what a powerful force women in media are almost every day when I read profiles by Jia Tolentino and Taffy Brodesser-Akner. I am lucky to see myself represented in television news when I watch Katy Tur and Hallie Jackson report live from the White House, and I am excited about the future when I see my peers, like Allison Pecorin, taking on some of the biggest news stories of the year. Despite what some might say, I have immense hope for the future of this industry and the women involved in it.