For New York City's immigrant neighborhoods and communities of color, broadband Internet access isn't just about social networking or watching TV shows. The Internet provides an affordable link to home, it opens doors to new education and job opportunities, it's an essential organizing tool, and it is a space to share community based media and journalism.
Civil Rights Champions, Leaders, and Allies:
Big media companies and Internet Service Providers are trying to make the Internet a closed, gated community- placing innovation, opportunity, and democracy at risk.
The internet is quickly becoming an essential utility, but poor communities in Philadelphia can't afford access, and are also facing rising energy costs. On February 15th, as part of MAG-Net's National Day of Action, Media Mobilizing Project hosted a community forum at Temple University called "The Bills Are Too High."
Guest Blog by Steven Renderos, Media Justice Organizer, Main Street Project
The good news is we finally have a broadband plan. Now, on to the bad news. Just kidding. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently delivered “Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan” to Congress which lays out recommendations for how the country should proceed in fully harnessing the, “power and promise of broadband.”
This guest blog, by Amy Sonnie, originally appearred on 'the banned librarian' on March 18th, 2010.
“The Broadband Plan was shaped by input from all corners of the U.S.; yet, it was a broad grassroots effort that assured rural and Indigenous communities, people of color, low-income residents and small businesses were heard. These groups collected stories from digital "haves and have-nots," met with FCC Commissioners, hosted teach-ins, and garnered media attention to educate the public.
As the FCC releases a new broadband policy and congress prepares to take up the issues of universal broadband and net neutrality, people across the country are speaking out about the lack of affordable and accessible broadband Internet service in their communities.
Guest Blog by Jordan Berg-Powers, Outreach Coordinator, Free Press
As a high school kid, I fell in love with the Internet. It was a place where I could go home after school and chat with five friends on IM, share hip hop songs from the local Philly scene, and even learn about love and relationships.
On March 3, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) released the findings of the SSRC report 'Broadband Adoption In Low-Income Communities', at an event hosted by the American Library Association (ALA). Main Street Project, Media Literacy Project and Media Mobilizing Project--members of the Media Action Grassroots Network--played a key role in the study, setting up over 100 community interviews with organizations and individuals who struggle with Internet access.
Guest Blog by Steven Renderos,
Media Justice Organizer, Main Street Project
February 22, 2010
On Monday, February 15th, groups across the country, including Main Street Project, the organization I work for, participated in a National Day of Action in support of broadband access and Net Neutrality. MSP, a member of the Media Action Grassroots Network, hosted a community forum titled, "Get Up to Speed with High Speed," in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, was the special guest speaker, highlighting the importance of the Internet to civic participation. He said:
We are beginning to see the future unfold where the issues of digital access need to be resolved. It's democracy's job to make every voice heard, and it starts with demands for broadband access.
The Minneapolis gathering was organized by the Minnesota Digital Justice Coalition, four MAG-Net organizations based in the state that work to shape media policy on the local level. The four groups include Main Street Project, Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing, People Escaping Poverty Project and Twin Cities Community Voicemail. The event attracted community folks on both sides of the digital divide, from bloggers with a captive readership to low-income folks who struggle daily to get access.
To see some of the stories that have come out of Minnesota and other regions visit MAG-Net's Blip channel. For pictures of Minnesota's Day of Action, click here.
Many of the people present at the event were from organizations that have already signed MAG-Net's pledge to be a Digital Champion. For me personally, it's been an enlightening experience to see how groups from all disciplines and issue areas have connected with the issue of universal broadband and Net Neutrality. At face value, there doesn't seem to be much of a connection, but as the conversations dive deeper into the role of the Internet in people's daily lives, it's clear that everyone has something at stake. In all, Minnesota has gathered over 30 organizational pledges, and in our final week of action beginning today, we're pushing for more organizations to sign on.
The day of action and all of our activities around this campaign have centered around the idea that people have an important and unique perspective to share about the Internet. The stories that have been collected and are being shared with our elected officials are challenging the idea that the Internet is a luxury. When one's housing, education, job, communication and artistic expression are being facilitated through the open Internet, it's clear it's become a public necessity.
Guest Blog by Kris Rios,
AmeriCorps CTC VISTA Program Associate for the Digital Expansion Initiative
People’s Production House
I like records. I prefer the old dusty kind, usually from the 60's and 70's, that play soul, funk, or jazz music. For me it's more than a cool way to listen to music. It's about how collecting and sharing music on vinyl records creates community and how those communities share experiences and knowledge through the music.