By Mary Alice Crim
Common Dreams (11/22/17)
According to reports, the FCC will vote on Dec. 14 to destroy Net Neutrality and allow for online discrimination.
Time to hit play on Wake Up Everybody, a song covered by John Legend and the Roots, and sing along:
“Wake up everybody no more sleepin’ in bed … the world won’t get no better if we just let it be.
The world won’t get no better.
We gotta change it yeah, just you and me.”
After you’re finished singing, hit the phones and prepare to get in the streets. It’s time to get loud and tell everyone that our digital civil rights are on the verge of being destroyed.
Here are seven steps you can take right now to save the internet:
1. Sign up to volunteer with Team Internet, a grassroots group of connected Net Neutrality supporters run by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Free Press Action Fund. It takes five minutes to sign up for a special volunteer text-team shift to message other open-internet supporters about the news and invite them to take action. Get texting from the comfort of your own home!
2. Call Congress and tell your lawmakers to save Net Neutrality. We need to do all we can to get as many members of Congress as possible to speak out against FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to gut the open internet. But we’re hearing from lawmakers who are on the fence that they need to hear from more constituents in order to act on this. Make their phones ring off the hook.
3. Attend a protest at a Verizon store near you on Dec 7. On that day — exactly a week before the FCC votes on Pai’s terrible plan — internet users will gather to highlight Verizon’s role in locking down and controlling our internet. (Did we mention Pai used to work for Verizon?)
4. Don’t see a protest near you? Set one up! It’s easy, fun and we’ll support you every step of the way by providing you with training, tools, recruitment … even signs!
5. If you’re on the East Coast, save the date and join us for a big Net Neutrality rally in Washington, D.C., on Dec 14, the day the FCC will vote on Pai’s plan. This event is organized by the Voices for Internet Freedom Coalition — 18 Million Rising, the Center for Media Justice, Color Of Change, Free Press Action Fund and the National Hispanic Media Coalition — which fights to protect the digital rights of communities of color.
6. Tell your friends! Send them to organizations like Free Press Action Fund, Center for Media Justice, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Color Of Change, which will give them everything they need to take action right now. Find all of these organizations on social and post using #NetNeutrality and #TeamInternet.
7. Don’t have time for any of that but still want to help? Donate! Every little bit helps, and at Free Press Action Fund, a generous donor will match every dollar you give by Dec. 31.
While Chairman Pai has been busy meeting with greedy industry lobbyists and executives, he shouldn’t ignore the tens of millions of people who are joining together to reject his Net Neutrality-killing plan.
People in almost every state across the country have been meeting with hundreds of lawmakers and their staffers, mobilizing people in their communities and speaking out on behalf of the open internet.
We know that Net Neutrality is essential to sharing and accessing information on absolutely everything, and it can even provide a crucial connection to life-saving conversations.
“As someone with social-anxiety disorder and depression, I rely on the internet for socialization and support,” wrote Heather from West Lafayette, Indiana, in a comment to the FCC. “I need a place to find people who share my struggles. I need a place to build a support network. I need a place to share my writing. Don’t ruin my freedom of speech (and my life) by getting rid of Net Neutrality.”
“As a small-business owner who does virtually all my business online,” wrote Tracy from Indianapolis, “ending Net Neutrality would kill my business.”
Check out what thousands of people have to say on why the open internet is essential to their everyday lives, work, businesses, family connections and activism.
For vulnerable communities, this moment is especially urgent. Net Neutrality makes the internet a place where people of color and religious minorities can organize for liberation while countering false narratives and harmful stereotypes.
Our message to Pai and companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon is clear: People everywhere will not sit idly by as you destroy the free and open internet.
(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.)
(Commoner Call cartoon by Seth L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )