Jewell Ryan-White Award for Cultural Diversity

The Jewell Ryan-White Award for Cultural Diversity is given annually to those persons who show an outstanding contribution to a process that encourages, facilitates, or creates culturally diverse and/or non-mainstream community involvement in the field of community media.


Leon Taylor began his 21 year Public Access career in December of 2002 with an interest in being a part of a media organization that purposefully impacted people in a positive way. His journey in public access started at BCAT, which then became BRIC, Brooklyn’s public access television station. He started as a Traffic Assistant and went on to serve the Brooklyn community in the roles of Program Coordinator, Senior Liaison for Community Producers, and Manager of Community Producer Services. During his 15 years at BRIC, Leon worked to ensure that community members were valued, had the support they needed, and were celebrated in their use of the community media services provided at BRIC. One of the most notable initiatives enacted by Leon was the “B Scene” screening series, which was the first public screening series featuring the work produced at BRIC by public access producers. “B Scene” highlighted LGBTQ producers, Women in Media, African American Filmmakers and other members of the diverse community that created content at BRIC.

In 2018, Leon left BRIC to join Manhattan Neighborhood Network as the Manager of Production and Facilitation. In this current position, Leon is responsible for scheduling production spaces and scheduling MNN production personnel to ensure that community media makers are supported and successful in creating media. During New York City’s COVID lockdown, Leon established “create from home” media experiences for MNN producers to keep them producing media and innovatively involved his staff in engaging with the community in productive ways during this difficult period. This included staff produced short videos focused on community media makers that highlighted their journey as MNN community producers, and interviews that documented their experiences during COVID. These initiatives kept MNN community producers engaged in production, and created content that was uniquely local, diverse, and reflective of how valuable public access is to the media landscape.

Leon has always been uniquely focused on community service. This stems from two things. The first is the respect and dedication that was shown to him by a teacher who diagnosed him with dyslexia in grade school. Leon has always “paid forward” that kindness with how he treats every community member he has ever encountered at a public access station. The second, is being from a community that is often in the media, but has traditionally had very little access to media education and media production tools. Leon works in public access to provide all communities with a media space that can make a difference, one that empowers people who don’t traditionally have a voice in media.


List of Winners by Year

2023-   Leon Taylor
2022 - Zenaida Mendez 
2021 - Jean Lewis, Community Media Center of Carrol County
2020 - Kathryn "KatMeow" Garcia
2019 - Shannon Gee, Seattle Channel
2018 - Tia Price
2017 - T-Time in Olympia (Presented to producers Staci Layton, Amy Layton, Lucas Miller, and Melissa Miller)
2016 - Bepsie Perry, Hello! West Hartford
2015 – Jennifer Dynes, MetroEast Community Media
2014 - Chag Lowry, Native Cultures Fund, part of the Humboldt Area Foundation
2013 – Kim Lawson, CreaTV San Jose
2012 – Kwame McDonald, St. Paul Neighborhood Network
2010 – Richard Rosenthal
2009 – Cherie Tessier
2008 – Graciela Rivera Oven
2007 – Michael Zinzin
2006 – Edmund Broussard, Berkeley Community Media
2005 – Malkia Cyril
2004 – Thenmozhi Sondararajan
2003 – Tarek Bagdadi, Minneapolis Telecommunications Network
2002 – Onida Coward-Mayers
2001 – Azaka Ajanaku
2000 – Ben and Sue Charles – Native Media (Tacoma, Washington)
1999 – Richard Turner
1998 – CeCe Pinheiro
1997 – Fernando Moreno
1996 – Rick Maultra
1995 – Maggie Johnson-Reese
1994 – Curtis Henderson
1993 – Jewell Ryan-White