Our online freedom is under attack by corporations like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon that want to control the Internet.
Every day we use the Internet as a tool of empowerment — whether communicating with our families, researching a homework assignment, looking for a job, keeping up on the latest news or organizing in our communities.
The Black community has long used media and media policies — from abolitionist newspapers to broadcast-license challenges during the civil rights era — to advocate for opportunities that allow us to tell our own stories and win social change.
Today’s struggle for Internet freedom brings this legacy into the digital age. The members of Black Voices for Internet Freedom are working together to achieve universal access to an open Internet that is free from discrimination.
Unfortunately, a significant percentage of the Black community still lacks home Internet access because they can’t afford it or it’s not available where they live. Without the Internet, we risk falling behind the rest of the country and the world.
Those of us online need Net Neutrality, the rules that preserve equality on the open Internet and make it possible for our communities to access the information of our choice without any interference from corporate gatekeepers like AT&T, Verizon or Comcast. A truly open Internet means that the ability to share and access information that is vital to our well-being remains in our hands, where it belongs.
Right now, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are spending millions of dollars to lobby President Obama, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to allow corporations to control our ability to access the content of our choice online . These companies are also using deceitful tactics to mislead our communities about the benefits of open Internet protections.
And just as the Black community has begun to achieve widespread Internet access through mobile phones, these companies have convinced the FCC to break the Internet in two by stripping away most Internet protections for mobile users. This means phone companies can now interfere with the ability of wireless users to access the Internet or online applications of their choice.
And some of these companies are challenging even the FCC’s watered-down rules in Congress and the courts. They don't want Internet users to have any protections whatsoever or any recourse if they get blocked or wronged online.
It’s time for us to stand up to these corporations and call on the Obama administration, Congress and the FCC to protect the Internet from corporate abuses. It’s time for Black Voices for Internet Freedom.