The St. Stephen's Difference Maker Award is an annual award that recognizes a local Houstonian who has made a difference and an impact within our Houston community.
Anita Long (2020 Difference Maker)
Anita Long is an educator, storyteller, filmmaker, and social entrepreneur. Anita uses her skills to raise the next generation of filmmakers as responsible, thoughtful storytellers. She has spent over three decades training youth in filmmaking that is socially responsible and compassionate. As Executive Director for a National Service-Learning initiative, she also built a curriculum for teachers and encouraged youth across America to document veterans' lives.
Ms. Long is the owner of Long Films Studio and is the Immediate Past President of Women in Film and Television - Houston. She is a Film Advisory Committee Member of the Houston Community College Media Arts & Technology Center for Excellence in Filmmaking & Music Business Program, and is a Los Angeles NARIP (National Association of Record Industry Professionals) Film and TV Board Member. She is Vice-President of the Federation of Houston Professional Women, which combines over 35 women's organizations to foster diverse relationships and scholarships and build collaboration for positive change in our community. Ms. Long also served as a board member and media-relations for Compassionate Houston.
Ms. Long's awards include medals from the Smithsonian Institute's Permanent Research Collection for "visionary use of information technology to effect positive educational, political and economic change in society." Her work is published in the Library of Congress and is part of the collections of more than 30 museums and libraries around the country. Her award-winning ways are passed on to her students at St. Stephen's, who received two Golden Key Film Awards from the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission.
Elma Barrera (2019 Difference Maker)
During the 2019 student film festival at the River Oaks Theatre, Elma Barrera received the first annual Difference Maker Award to recognize Barrera’s groundbreaking work in television, film, and radio. As Houston’s first female Hispanic television reporter, she covered a wide variety of local, national, and international stories for ABC Channel 13. She also worked at Channel 8, where she produced and anchored a weekly 30-minute Spanish speaking program that was unprecedented in the Houston television industry. She co-founded Houston’s first Spanish-language television station, Channel 45.
Ms. Barrera also donated much of her time and energy to the community. She was a founder of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and moderated Viva Houston and countless other community affairs programs. She has recently worked to help underprivileged kids attend Houston’s many cultural venues such as the Alley Theatre, the Symphony, and museums. This effort has resulted in a full-fledged campaign to raise funds to support Furr High School’s recent designation as a fine arts magnet school.
Ms. Barrera’s hard work and efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2000, The National Association of Hispanic Journalists named her one of the inaugural inductees into its newly created “Hall of Fame.” The White House chose her as a local organizer of the first International Women’s Conference, which hosted several former first ladies in Houston. Elma also received the Jade Award for Excellence from Women in Film & Television.