USA Network Announces Characters Unite Award Winners

USA Network Monday announced this year’s 10 Characters Unite Award recipients.

The winners, chosen from hundreds of nominees for their extraordinary efforts in combining hate, intolerance and discrimination, will be acknowledged during hometown award ceremonies and will receive $5,000 grants from USA Network and participating distributors to support their projects or related nonprofit organizations.

Additionally, honorees will be featured on-air in a public service announcement, online at and in social media, said network officials.

The Character Unite Awards are part of the larger, award-winning Characters Unite campaign that includes on-air programming and public service announcements, digital content and community events across the country, according to USA.

 “We congratulate this year’s Characters Unite Award winners for the incredible work they do in their communities to fight discrimination while championing tolerance and acceptance,” said Mac Budill, President, NBCUniversal TV Networks Distribution. “We are proud to partner with our distributors in recognizing these remarkable leaders and their efforts.”

The Characters United Award recipients are as follows:

Ray Kelley, Daytona Beach, FL (Bright House Networks)

Co-Founder, Daytona Outreach Center

Mathylde Frontus, Brooklyn, NY (Cablevision)

Founder and Executive Director, Urban Neighborhood Services, Inc.

Scott Garman, MN (Charter)

Director and Co-Founder, UnityND

Carla Kelley, Salt Lake City, UT (Comcast) 

Executive Director and Founder, Human Rights Education Center

Jerald L. White, New Orleans, LA (Cox Communications)

Community Advocate and Founder, Charitable Film Network

Jasmine Babers, Rock Island, IL (Mediacom)

Founder, Love, GIRLS Magazine

Debby Weinstein, Charleston, WV (Suddenlink)

Executive Director, YWCA

Sofia Shield, Los Angeles, CA (Time Warner Cable)

Human Rights Advocate, SURVIVORS SPEAK

Richard Boeshore, Roslyn Heights, NY 

Founder, Pine Crest Farm Camp

Tashmica Torok, Lansing, MI

Founder and Executive Director, The Firecracker Foundation

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.