Growing Support from Communities of Color for an Open Internet
Support for Net Neutrality continues to grow among communities of color as the FCC considers rules to protect the open Internet.
Last week in El Paso, Texas, the National Latino Congreso, a gathering sponsored by more than 140 national and local Latino organizations, unanimously passed a resolution in support of Net Neutrality.
The resolution, introduced by Nativo Perez of the Mexican American Political Association, urges the FCC to pass strong Net Neutrality rules that would ensure that Internet users can “communicate directly to the public without permission from corporate gatekeepers.”
In addition, the resolution said, “Without strong non-discrimination and transparency…rules, Internet service providers will have every incentive to favor their own content, applications and services online while slowing down those of their competitors.”
The National Latino Congreso is supported by groups ranging from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to Centro de los Trabajadores Agricolas de El Paso.
The Congreso is joining hundreds of other public interest organizations, and nearly two million people, who are all pushing the FCC to pass Net Neutrality protections that will ensure that Internet Service Providers cannot interfere with Internet users’ ability to access the content and applications of their choice.
And while a number of civil rights groups have either expressed concern about or opposition to Net Neutrality, the Congreso’s resolution marks a positive new trend: A growing number of local and national organizations of color are calling on the FCC to pass strong Net Neutrality protections so that people of color can continue to have an online presence free from media or corporate gatekeepers.
James Rucker of the online advocacy group ColorOfChange.org recently said, “…for Black and other communities, an open Internet offers a transformative opportunity to truly control our own voice and image, while reaching the largest number of people possible.”
A coalition of 40 civil rights and justice groups recently sent a letter to the FCC advocating for open Internet protections. It said:
These Net Neutrality rules are needed for people of color and low income individuals to be creators of Internet content that is relevant to their communities, not just consumers of content that is profitable for big cable and phone companies.
Other organizations, like the Applied Research Center, Presente.org, Afro-Netizen, Native Public Media, the Center for Media Justice, UNITY: Journalists of Color, the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, National Association of Latino Independent Producers and the National Hispanic Media Coalition have all weighed in at the FCC in support of Network Neutrality.
Meanwhile, President Obama said this week that he’s a “big believer” in Net Neutrality and that, “We've got to keep the Internet open, that we don’t want to create a bunch of gateways that prevent somebody who doesn’t have a lot of money but has a good idea from being able to start their next YouTube or their next Google on the Internet.”
Last month, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn urged communities of color to support the FCC’s effort to protect the open Internet. She said:
By sitting this one out, or worse, by throwing up roadblocks that will enable what is now 'our' Internet to become 'their' Internet, we simply would be reinstating the very kinds of imbalanced structures that we have been attempting for decades to dismantle in other contexts.
Don’t sit this one out. Visit the Center for Media Justice’s Web site and pledge to support Net Neutrality and universal broadband, and then join the 1.7 million people who have called on the FCC to pass Net Neutrality protections by signing a petition at SaveTheInternet.com.