For Immediate Release February 12, 2015
Racial Justice Leaders Push Congress for Net NeutralityWASHINGTON – On Thursday, racial justice groups joined together to support net neutrality in a day of action on Capitol Hill, hosted by the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and Presente.org, in collaboration with the Media Action Grassroots Network. Throughout the day’s events, which included a briefing and delegation visits to dozens of Congressional offices, the groups urged members of Congress to support rules protecting a free and open Internet that the Federal Communications Commission has proposed and is set to vote on Feb. 26. At a Capitol Hill briefing, panelists underscored the importance of the open Internet as a critical tool for empowering Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans and others to contribute to economic, educational, and political discourse in the digital age. Panelists included Mariana Ruiz, managing director of Presente.org; Steven Renderos, national organizer for the Media Action Grassroots Network; Cayden Mak, new media director of 18MillionRising.org; and Brandi Collins, media justice director of Color of Change. NHMC Policy Director Michael Scurato moderated the panel. The organizations also released an educational two-pager highlighting why net neutrality and reclassifying Internet access service as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act are critical for communities of color. To read the document, click here. To view photographs of the day of action, click here.
The following are statements from participating groups:Presente.org – Mariana Ruiz, Managing Director: “The Internet is vital to all communities and essential to the political participation of communities of color. Congress should allow the FCC to protect and regulate the Internet as the essential utility it is for tens of millions of Americans. For Latinos and many low income communities of color, who have long been left out of mega Telecoms corporations’ Internet access priorities, a free and open Internet is essential for our participation in everyday life. We demand access, and we won’t settle for anything less.” National Hispanic Media Coalition – Michael Scurato, Policy Director: “The organization of this delegation and the events that comprise our day of action are, in and of themselves, a powerful example of precisely how the Open Internet enables communities of color to engage in the political process and create positive social change. We thank our gracious hosts, Congressman Keith Ellison and Congressman Raul Grijalva, two champions of real net neutrality on the Hill, and we hope that our visits will inspire others to join the cause.” Media Action Grassroots Network – Steven Renderos – National Organizer: “Net Neutrality is a critical step in closing the economic, educational, and other racial equity gaps that disadvantage communities of color. That is why our network of 175 grassroots organizations across the country has been organizing for strong and enforceable Net Neutrality rules at the FCC. It is the only way to ensure our communities can rely on an Internet free from discrimination.” 18MillionRising.org – Cayden Mak – New Media Director: “As the best-connected racial demographic in the U.S., Asian Americans have a major stake in net neutrality, and that includes mobile broadband. We have long relied on the Internet to enrich our economic, civic, and family lives. Title II reclassification is in the best interests of our community, and for the preservation of key rights as emerging players in the American political landscape.” Color of Change – Brandi Collins, Media Justice Director: “The Internet and mobile technology platforms have been a crucial tool in our ability not just to speak out against injustice but organize online and offline for equality and dignity. Over the last 5 years we’ve seen an increase in the number of net neutrality champions in the Congressional Black Caucus. Many of the most influential Black members of Congress are defending the online digital rights of communities of color. They are starting to realize that the Internet isn’t a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity.”
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Presente.org is the nation’s largest online Latino organizing group with more than 300,000 members, all working to amplify the political voice of Latino communities.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, working towards a media that is fair and inclusive of Latinos, and towards universal, affordable, and open access to communications. Learn more at www.nhmc.org.
With more than one million members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.
The Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) is a local-to-local advocacy network of over 175 grassroots organizations across the country working together for media change to end poverty, eliminate racism, and ensure human rights.
18MillionRising.org uses new media organizing to foster community, develop identity, and build power for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders online.
The VOQAL Fund is a proud supporter of this event and uses technology and media to build an educated, empowered and engaged public.