This week a federal appeals court gutted a large portion of the Federal Communications Commission’s “network neutrality” rules. This blog post will explain what the network neutrality rules accomplished, and what the court decision means for those of us that care about the well-being of Latinos and other people of color. To learn more about NHMC’s work to restore the open internet, visit: www.nhmc.org/openinternet.
Network Neutrality, defined
Growing up, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, January 15, was extra special for me. Not only do I share Dr. King’s birthday, his story was one of the few elementary school lessons I can remember in which the “hero” was a person of color. I remember no lessons about Latin@ heroes.
Eventually I learned that Latin@s and other people of color have long been under- and mis-represented in American culture, and realized how this influenced my self-perceptions as a child. Though progress has been made, we are still far from equality.
Studies from the last few years have shown that Latinos lead the way in terms of support for LGBT issues in this country. But all communities have a long way before we can really say that our LGBT family members are fully accepted, respected and included; as evidenced by the fact that 40% of homeless youth are LGBT and of those, 26% are Latino. In other words, homeless youth are disproportionately LGBT, and homeless LGBT youth are disproportionately Latino.
Pedro A. Avila is from East Los Angeles, California. His parents are both Mexican immigrants. His mother is from Merida, Yucatan, and his father from Mexicali. Pedro’s parents migrated to the U.S. for greater opportunity, and to provide their children with a better life. Pedro has always been committed to aiding his community.
Yesterday the New York Times published an excellent piece by departing Ford Foundation President, Luis Ubinas, noting the need to prepare our classrooms and our children for 21st century digital learning. Today I am happy to share this piece with NHMC readers:
On June 6, at a middle school in Mooresville, N.C., President Obama set a goal of high-speed Internet in nearly every public school in America in five years. It was a bold and needed pronouncement — except that in 1996 President Clinton said virtually the same thing, calling for libraries and classrooms to be “hooked up to the Information Superhighway by the year 2000.”
Much has been made in the media over the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program, which helps make telephone service more affordable for poor families. Most of the media coverage, however, has been slanted and misleading.
Last month I testified at a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on Communications and Technology titled “The Lifeline Fund: Money Well Spent?” My testimony provided a factual account of the history of the Lifeline program and the ways in which it is bettering lives today.
This week NHMC welcomed Randy D. Abreu to Washington, DC as its 2013 summer Google fellow. The Google Policy Fellowship program is a highly selective summer employment program through which Google provides stipends to students to work on Internet and technology issues at non-profit organizations, like NHMC.
Originally from The Bronx, New York, Randy was born to parents from the Dominican Republic. His mother came to the United States with hopes of providing an opportunistic experience to her children in a land where the American Dream reigned true. Randy attended the High School of American Studies in the Bronx, one of New York City’s six specialized high schools.
As a Latina telecommunications attorney, I know a thing or two about operating in different languages. I speak English, Spanish, legalese and telecom jargon, all with varying degrees of proficiency. And I must say, telecom jargon has been the most difficult to learn – just as I think I have it down, technology evolves and I have a whole new list of vocabulary words and acronyms to study.
For instance, AT&T recently petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to “launch a proceeding concerning the TDM-to-IP transition.” A what concerning the what-to-what what?!? If you did not understand more than half of those words and acronyms, you are not alone.
Today marks the first day of Women’s History Month and as a new mother I feel more inclined than ever to celebrate the important role that women have played and continue to play in shaping this country. Of course many of these amazing women never were and likely never will be in the public eye and will be celebrated only by those that surround them in their personal and professional lives. Others still, have contributed by serving this country in elected or appointed government positions, and those are the ladies that I will focus on today.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition’s (NHMC) Board of Directors has approved the organization’s 2013 Policy Priorities. NHMC’s ambitious agenda includes the following goals:
Responsible and Inclusive Media
Latinos now comprise over 16% of the U.S. population and represent the fastest growing voting bloc. Yet the media is way behind in its inclusion of and rhetoric towards Latinos. NHMC will push for policies and industry practices to infuse the media industry with more Latino owners, employees and expert commentators. NHMC will educate advertisers and media companies about the need for responsible portrayals of Latinos, and it will empower concerned Latinos to stand up for responsible media in their local communities.
This semester NHMC is pleased to be hosting two outstanding lawyers-in-training as part of its legal internship program. You have already met Liz Ruiz, and today I write to introduce you to Brenda Montes. Brenda recently graduated from the UCLA School of Law. In August she completed the California bar exam and she is now awaiting her results.
Consistent with our mission to increase the number of Latinos employed in all facets of the media industry, NHMC warmly welcomes Elizabeth Ruiz to the team as part of our Fall 2011 legal internship program. NHMC’s legal internship program celebrated its first anniversary this summer. Its purpose is twofold: to bolster NHMC’s legal research capacity and, more importantly, to prepare aspiring Latino lawyers to practice media and telecommunications policy.
Elizabeth comes to NHMC with a very impressive background. She recently started her final year at the University of North Carolina School of Law. She graduated with honors from the University of South Carolina in 2006, and then spent the subsequent three years working as a news assistant and staff writer at The State newspaper in Columbia, SC. Aside from her journalism background, Elizabeth brings to NHMC her valuable experiences interning for FCC Commissioner Clyburn and as a Google Policy Fellow at Media Access Project.
For those of us who aren’t primarily focused on telecommunications policy – and even for those of us who are – the web of regulatory review of the AT&T/T-Mobile deal can be confusing. Here is my part-lawyer/part-human explanation of what just went down, and what’s next.
For starters, two government agencies are tasked with reviewing this transaction: the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The DOJ is required to enforce antitrust laws. The FCC’s review is broader. Although it focuses on factors that the DOJ considers, such as bolstering competition, it also must examine whether the transaction is in the public interest.
AT&T/T-Mobile Transaction – NHMC heard on “Radio Bilingue” and seen in “Roll Call”
By: Jessica J. Gonzalez, VP of Policy & Legal Affairs
NHMC has been hard at work over this past week to educate decision-makers and the public alike about the harmful effects of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger.
Last week, NHMC’s Executive VP, Inez Gonzalez, spoke at a public hearing in Culver City before the California Public Utilities Commission.
By: Jessica J. Gonzalez, Vice President, Policy & Legal Affairs
In June 2011, Nilda Muhr joined the NHMC team as our new Programs and Outreach Coordinator. She hails from Orange County Head Start Inc. where she was a Family Advocate working to educate families on becoming self-sufficient and improving the educational outcomes of their children.