MediaJustice

Advisory For: Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, [email protected], 202.716.1953

WED at 4 p.m. EST: Students, Disconnected Families Push Comcast to Expand Internet Access and Stop Holding Children’s Education Hostage in COVID Crisis

Comcast, the nation’s largest internet provider, urged to close the digital divide as the corporation turns record profit margins and Black and Brown communities struggle to stay connected

On Wednesday, September 23, at 4 p.m. eastern, MediaJustice will gather students, families, teachers, community advocates and city leaders from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Detroit for a press conference urging Comcast to stop holding children’s education hostage for profit and take specific actions to expand internet access through the COVID-19 crisis. At a time when access to high speed internet is a crucial lifeline for children to access education, disconnected communities are demanding Comcast make the Internet Essentials program free for families until 60 days after students can return to school; increase download and upload speeds so families can work and learn from home simultaneously; and open residential hotspots to the public. 

(PRESS/MEDIA only) Register to attend herehttps://mediajustice.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ksMGACzYRwWbcnXtWCN7lw

The press conference will be open to the public via Facebook Live from https://facebook.com/MediaJustice, no registration required.

Twenty-two million people have no option other than Comcast for their internet service, and the company has raked in billions during the pandemic, turning their highest profit margins in more than a decade, while majority Black and Brown communities struggle to stay connected, learn, and work online. Because of Comcast’s stranglehold on essential communications, regulators forced the company to initiate the Internet Essentials program and provide lower-cost internet to those unable to afford it. But Comcast keeps the benefits of the program so tied up in red tape, hidden fees, short-term access and long-term contracts, that communities continue to be held back from learning, working and accessing health care.

Said Brandon Forester, national field organizer at MediaJustice:

“For decades, Congress and the FCC have failed to close the digital divide. Their inaction, negligence, and dysfunction continue in this national crisis, disproportionately affecting students of color and unfairly leaving individual school districts to shoulder the burden. Together we are calling on Comcast, the only internet option for 22 million people, to stop holding our children’s education hostage as they return to school.”

WHAT:

Press conference to connect inadequate communications access to the impact on students and families, who remain disconnected from school and work through the COVID-19 crisis, and call for immediate action by Comcast to close the digital divide.

WHO:

Impacted youth, educator, and family leaders including:
Katie Hearn, Director, Detroit Community Technology Project
Ciara Hart, Educator in Baton Rouge, LA
Kimberely Vasquez and Yashira Morillo, Student organizers with SOMOS

Elected officials including:
Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym
Baltimore City Councilmember Zeke Cohen

Organizational advocates including:
Dana Floberg, Policy Manager, Free Press / Free Press Action

WHEN: Wednesday, September 23rd, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. EST

(PRESS/MEDIA only) Register to attend herehttps://mediajustice.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ksMGACzYRwWbcnXtWCN7lw

The press conference will be open to the public via Facebook Live from https://facebook.com/MediaJustice, no registration required.

For interviews and questions: Christina DiPasquale, [email protected], 202.716.1953

Advocates participating in and contributing to the press conference include: Students Organizing for a Multicultural and Open Society (SOMOS, Baltimore) Movement Alliance Project, Detroit Community Technology Project, Free Press and Color of Change.

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MediaJustice is dedicated to building a grassroots movement for a more just and participatory media—fighting for racial, economic, and gender justice in a digital age. MediaJustice boldly advances communication rights, access, and power for communities harmed by persistent dehumanization, discrimination and disadvantage. Home of the #MediaJusticeNetwork, comprised of more than 100 grassroots partners, we envision a future where everyone is connected, represented, and free.

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