Open Media Foundation celebrates Independent Voices with party tonight

With all the bad news about media layoffs, here's a real reason to celebrate: Tonight, the Open Media Foundation will celebrate six years of independent voices on Denver Open Media -- which not only runs Denver's public-access channels on Comcast, but also provides training and services for non-profits and kids -- with a free party after the presentation of its Independent Voice awards.

As founder Tony Shawcross notes: "Here at the Open Media Foundation, we don't view our work as simply providing media and technology services, training and tools to those who would otherwise lack access. We view our work as addressing a primary source of social inequity."

And this year's winners are....

Family Star Montessori is the recipient of the 2012 Independent Voice Video Award. The organization's mission is "to discover the child in inclusive Montessori environments and inspire a movement for education the human potential" -- and in the process, it's nurtured the individuality and "independent voices" of youth, says DOM. Find out more about Family Star Montessori at www.familystar.net.

The Andre Center will get this year's Independent Voice Web Award, in recognition of the services provided by executive director Sandra Walters since her May 2006 launch of the program, which serves women and men with breast cancer. Visit www.andrecenter.org to learn more about Walters's work in the community.

Paula Rhoads is receiving DOM's Most Prolific Producer award for her contribution of nearly 300 shows over the last several years. While struggling with her own medical situation, she's brought attention to medical, legal and financial problems associated with brain injuries. Brainiacs airs Saturdays at noon DOM's Comcast Channel 56.

DOM's Most Active Video Voter Award will go to Ninon de Vere De Rosa for her contribution to DOM's online viewing and voting system. Ninon is part of the Skype cast of Steve Toth's Living Consciously TV, which airs at 3 p.m. Saturdays on DOM's Comcast Channel 56.

Jonah Lujan is being given the Youth Producer of the Year award for the leadership role he plays in Open Media Generation; over the past six months, he's produced over six TV shows engaging youth around Denver. Spotlight on Students airs at 5 p.m. Wednesdays on DOM's Comcast Channel 56.

And I'm honored to say that I'll be the recipient of a new award, the Independent Voice of the Year award. But that award really belongs to all our writers and readers: the reporters who publish dozens of stories a day on Westword.com, covering worthy events in the community and uncovering news that the community should know, giving voice to individuals who otherwise would not be heard. Just as important, though, are the readers who tip us off to stories around town, who use Westword.com to discuss issues around town, and who tell us -- frequently! -- when they feel we're dropping the ball.

At 6 p.m. tonight, Open Media Foundation will host a reception/dinner announcing the winners; tickets to this fundraiser are $150, and a few spots are still open. You can also bid in the OMF online auction until 9:30 p.m. tonight. But you don't have to open your wallet to join in this celebration -- the free party starts at 7:30 p.m. All the events will be at Denver Open Media, 700 Kalamath Street -- and the ceremony and party will also be broadcast live. For more information, go to the Open Media Foundation website.

From our archives: "Tony Shawcross saved public-access TV in Denver."

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