The importance of connectivity is greater than ever in this age of smartphones, wifi, and cloud networks. I am not only talking about connecting to the internet, but the importance of truly connecting with others. At one of my first trainings as a Generation Justice Fellow, amalia deloney said it best, “the shortest distance between two people is a story.”
amalia deloney is the Associate Director of the Center for Media Justice. She also coordinates the media policy initiatives of the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-NET). amalia was passionate and inspiring during her presentation to us at the UNM Student Union Building on Tuesday, July 1.
amalia’s work revolves around organizing local-to-local movements for media justice, rights, and access. She embodies the work that she does with her attitude and her energy. I loved that she explained how the media can create a very special bond, if done correctly. She encouraged us to reflect on our interactions with others. Do you see yourself in others? Can others see themselves in you? That vulnerability fuels extraordinary projects. Those relationships give life to your work.
Besides our training, amalia filled us in on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the importance of net neutrality. Net neutrality means an open and equal internet for everyone, no exceptions. A new proposal by Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the FCC, would “prioritize” the internet to a fast lane and a slow lane, mainly determined by corporations and how much you can afford. This destroys net neutrality. This destroys what the internet was created for: access to information, freedom of speech, and an equal medium for communication.
The FCC Town Hall was being held that night at the South Broadway Cultural Center. Chairman Tom Wheeler was accepting questions from local youth about the importance of net neutrality. Chairman Wheeler claims that he is a supporter of the free internet, but in his past he has been a lobbyist for the cable industry. With corporations like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable, it’s doubtful that his loyalty is sincerely with the public. He consistently dodged questions with rambling responses and careful word choice.
“We (New Mexicans) are 50th in the nation when it comes to connectivity,” State Senator Jacob Candelaria said. Therefore, there’s no denying that net neutrality is already a problem for New Mexico. This is beyond a matter of preventing the proposal, it is getting the FCC to recognize that the last thing our internet connection needs is another limitation.
Even big-name companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have realized the troubling consequences of the FCC’s net neutrality proposal. Google went as far as telling the agency that the proposal was a “grave threat to the internet.” Keep in mind that this threat is not limited to internet speeds or corporate competition. The right to communication is a social justice issue, and even President Barack Obama recently voiced his opposition to the proposal.
Communication is our right. Our brains are wired to tell stories – constantly growing, learning and sharing. I see communication as a source of life. It streams through our fingers and animates our voices. It is the catalyst of our evolution. We’ve always used symbols to communicate, whether it be engraved on a rock or stamped by a printing press. Now, we have the internet: the unfathomable highway of code that encompasses our entire planet. It’s ours, and we need to keep it that way.
If you are interested in getting your voice heard about net neutrality, the FCC will be accepting comments through September 10th at fcc.gov/comments.