With family, friends and supporters close by to cheer them on, awards for outstanding community programming were presented to producers and hosts in more than 10 categories at the 2009 BronxNet BETA (Bronx Excellence in Television Access) Awards ceremony held November 12 at the Lehman College Lovinger Theatre.
Themed “Every Voice Counts”, this year’s celebration marked the 14th anniversary of the cable station. Hollywood had nothing on the BETAs – all bells and whistles were in place to capture the attention of the audience and viewers watching at home. BronxNet alumni Dean Meminger of TV1 served as the highly capable Master of Ceremonies. There was entertainment, live music by Ibrahim Gonzalez and the band, spoken word, singing, and well-orchestrated skits performed by comedic actress and BronxNet Program Host Rhina Valentin who played the role of Rita Colette, the census taker. She encountered a number of non-responsive residents who could care less about the census. Through her persistency, by the end of the evening, the census lady had convinced the naysayers that the Bronx community should participate in the upcoming 2010 Census.
As part of a special video project, students from three Bronx high schools, John F. Kennedy, Lehman High and School for Community Research and Learning presented their original 2010 Census public service announcements created under the direction of Walter Garaicoa of BronxNet who is an EMMY Award winner and cinematographer.
Bronx resident, Linda Berk, a partnership specialist for the NY Regional Census Center and Yolanda Finley, United States Census Bureau Media Specialist approached Michael Knobbe, Executive Director of BronxNet months ago to ask for his support to develop a plan to bring the 2010 Census message to BronxNet viewers and residents. Thanks to the creativity of Knobbe and his team, The BETA Awards proved to be the perfect venue to kick off the important dialogue about Bronx being fully represented in next year’s count of the nation’s people. Underscoring the importance of full participation in the census, a representative from Governor David Paterson’s office spoke about his executive order calling for a 2010 Census Complete Count Committee for NY state.
Census questionnaires will arrive by mail locally in March 2010. With less than five months before the census, Partnership Specialists like Berk are busy delivering an important message to residents: It’s Easy, the shortest questionnaire in the history of the census; It’s Safe, personal information provided on a census questionnaire is kept confidential by law; Participation is open to both citizens and non-citizens; Finally, It’s Important – More than $400 billion dollars in federal funding is dispersed to states based on population data. The same data helps determine the number of Congressional seats each state receives and how legislative district lines are drawn locally. To learn more about the 2010 Census, call 212-356-3100.