‘First We Pray, Then We Organize’ The Unlikely Coalition for Net Neutrality
This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
On Tuesday, July 28th, a diverse group of faith leaders and advocates posted the same video on the Twitter and Facebook feeds of more than one million people. Backers of the video came from a wide range of civil rights causes — racial justice, LGBTQ equality, economic justice, religious pluralism and more. What’s the unlikely hashtag that unites them?
The new video from Faithful Internet shows how the open Internet has become the lifeblood of today’s social movements — #BlackLivesMatter, #99Percent, #LoveWins and more. It celebrates the 2015 Open Internet Order for codifying #netneutrality — the principle that has kept the Internet free from undue corporate control.
The Open Internet Order protects the Internet as the prophetic platform of the 21st century — a place where we communicate, create and organize freely. Specifically, it bans carriers like Comcast and Verizon from blocking or slowing down websites, or charging sites extra fees to reach people faster. That means Americans have an equal chance of being heard online.
As a Sikh American, I have come to understand acutely that marginalized communities like my own cannot fight for equality and dignity without reaching audiences online. I’m not alone.
The Faithful Internet campaign features some of America’s top faith leaders calling us to protect the open Internet as a matter of social justice, including Rev. William Barber II, Sister Simone Campbell, Rev. Jaqui Lewis and Rev. Otis Moss III.
The call to action is urgent. As we speak, big carriers like Comcast and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to override rules that protect net neutrality. This month, Congress is considering an appropriations bill that would undo the Open Internet Order. And this week, carriers are filing briefs in a lawsuit to kill the Order entirely.
Fortunately, the movement for Internet freedom is growing fast. Today’s video alone was released by 300 leaders and organizations such as ColorOfChange.org, Courage Campaign, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Groundswell, MoveOn.org, Open Media and The Sikh Coalition.
A delegation will deliver the video and a list of supporters to the Congressional Black Caucus tomorrow, urging lawmakers who care about social justice to vote their conscience.
Because Internet freedom is what makes other movements possible.
If you want a world where #BlackLivesMatter, if you proclaim #Not1More or #LoveWins, if you want dignity for #Sikhs and #Muslims and the #99Percent, then #NetNeutrality is your cause too.