“There are no voiceless people. Only people that haven’t been heard, yet.”
We believe the right to communicate and therefore the right to transform our world belongs to everyone. In today’s world, connection is a pre-condition of success. Students need an Internet connection to finish their homework. Organizers need access to social media in order to have their voices heard and mobilize communities to action. Those in prison depend on phone calls to keep their relationships with their families strong.
Yet across the country, the right to communicate is being denied to millions of people. There are 2.7 million children whose families can’t afford the cost of a phone call from their parents in prison. There are 100 million people who lack an Internet connection at home because it’s too expensive. This is especially true for poor communities, where 47% of households making $25,000 or less have an Internet connection at home. In the face of these disparities, it is critical we claim our right to communicate.
Right now the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is working on two issues that could dramatically help close the gap on some of these disparities. First, the FCC is considering reforms to the prison telephone industry that would establish an affordable flat rate for all phone calls out of jails, prisons and detention facilities, ending a practice of price gouging. Second, the FCC is planning on modernizing a low-income program known as Lifeline, which would help low-income families afford an Internet connection at home.
We want to urge the FCC to move forward on both of these issues, which is why members of the Media Action Grassroots Network are kicking off a “Right to Connect” initiative. During the next few weeks, we’ll be educating our communities on Lifeline and Prison Phones and encouraging people to take action on both of these issues. Our activities will culminate with a 10-person delegation that will travel to Washington D.C. to meet with members of Congress and the FCC to demand they support our communities #RightToConnect. Want to join us? Here are two quick things you can do today:
- Find out more about Lifeline by joining our educational call this Wednesday September 16th at 3pm EST/12pm PST. RSVP here.
- Sign our petition on lowering the cost of prison phone calls. We’ll be hand delivering this petition to the FCC in early October.
Stay connected! To ensure you continue to receive current updates and upcoming actions, contact: Steven Renderos, [email protected]