After months of grassroots organizing and lobbying from activists, organizers, policy advocates, and Internet users themselves, the California State Senate last week finally passed SB 822, the most comprehensive net neutrality bill in the country. The bill seeks to stop the blocking and throttling of lawful traffic online, and prevent Internet service providers from implementing paid prioritization schemes—but it still needs one more signature before it becomes the law across the State.
That’s why today, alongside 19 allies and members of our Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), we sent a letter to the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown, demanding that he provide that final approval.
The groups joining us in signing onto this letter include 18MillionRising.org, Access Humboldt, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – CA, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Color Of Change, Common Cause, CreaTV San Jose, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Forward Together, The Greenlining Institute, Media Action Center, Media Alliance, Muslim Advocates, Right To The City Alliance, RYSE Center, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, and TURN – The Utility Reform Network.
The Center for Media Justice has worked for months with groups like Fight for the Future to drive phone calls to state legislators in California, coordinated sign-on letters, and co-led grassroots lobbying efforts with Color of Change in Sacramento, urging senators and assembly members to consider the civil rights and racial justice impacts of an Internet without Net Neutrality. In June our own Steven Renderos testified to the California Senate, during a hearing on SB 822:
“I know what it means to live a second class existence. But I also know how powerful the Internet can be to overcome structural barriers to success. The Center for Media Justice fights for Net Neutrality, not because we care about what happens to bits and bytes, but because in the 21st century, Net Neutrality is a civil rights struggle.”
In addition to our continued efforts on the West Coast, last Monday we filed an amicus brief as part of a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission, citing racial justice concerns with their decision to repeal Net Neutrality nationwide last year. We remain confident that joined by the voices of so many leaders, Gov. Brown will hear our calls and sign SB 822 as soon as possible—helping to sustain the momentum behind eventually restoring a free and open Internet for people of color across the country.