Judith McCray is a multiple Emmy award-winning writer, director and producer with more than 25 years of experience in broadcast production and programming. She has developed and produced award-winning programming examining science and the environment, history, civil and human rights, education, politics, and racism. She currently produces the podcast Zebra Sisters: Crossing Racial Boundaries with hosts Mary Mitchell and Leslie Baldacci for the Chicago Sun-Times.
A former producer and program developer for WTTW (PBS/Chicago) and WNET (PBS/New York), McCray is president and founder of Juneteenth Productions
, which develops and produces documentaries and programming for broadcast, educational and internet media. Documentaries broadcast on national and regional public television include Chicago’s True Nature: the Forest Preserves of Cook County
(2016 Chicago/Midwest Region Emmy Award); Colorblind: Rethinking Race
(2013 Chicago/Midwest Region Emmy Award), Tal Como Somos (Just As We Are)
(2008), Constructing Equality
(2006), Nubia and the Mysteries of Kush
(2003), Amazon Rising: Seasons of the River
(2000), For My People: The Life and Writing of Margaret Walker
(1999), and Mississippi, America
(1997 American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award).
As a filmmaker and media activist, McCray has worked with Chicago’s diverse communities addressing issues, raising awareness and advocating social change. Projects have included:
- Beating Breast Cancer, an inspirational film designed to provide hope for women diagnosed with breast cancer, and promote early detection through screening. With first person accounts by five African American women, this community outreach tool is distributed by the American Cancer Association, the National Black Nurses Association and the UIC School of Nursing. Eighty-five percent of women viewing said the film influenced their decision to have a mammogram.
- Destructive Force, an examination of negative portrayals of African American youth in advertising, developed as a media literacy tool with the Chicago-based hip hop youth organization, Kuumba Lynx.
- Tal Como Somos (Just As We Are), community outreach activities addressing stigma and discrimination against Latino gays, bi-sexual and transgender people with the gay Latino organization, ALMA.
Creating Harmony, a substance abuse prevention video addressing improved
communication and parenting between Asian teens and their parents in the Chinatown, Korean and Vietnamese communities for the Asian Health Coalition.
McCray’s broadcast experience extends into the classroom and mentoring future broadcast journalists and media professionals. She taught documentary production and writing as an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and as an adjunct at Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois-Chicago. She currently is an adjunct professor in DePaul University’s College of Communication. She holds a MA in politics and public policy from Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, and a BS in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.