Protect the Net Neutrality Victory!

Congressional Republicans and lobbyists from the biggest cable and telephone companies are teaming up to overturn the Federal Communication Commission's strong Net Neutrality rules. Join the Voices for Internet Freedom coalition in urging members of the Black, Hispanic and Asian Congressional Caucus to protect the Net Neutrality Victory. 

Dear. Rep. Buttefield, Rep. Chu and Rep. Sanchez: 

As a coalition of civil rights and racial justice organizations representing hundreds of thousands of the nation’s most vulnerable constituencies, we are writing to urge members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to champion the recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt strong and enforceable Net Neutrality rules. 
  
Net Neutrality is critical to the health and well being of all communities. In particular, Net Neutrality affords communities of color, long impacted by the bias of mainstream media, the opportunity to speak for ourselves and tell our own stories. It has allowed activists to fight for just immigration policies and against police violence, giving birth to powerful and participatory social movements. In short, the Net Neutrality rules adopted by the FCC ensure a non-discriminatory Internet that is open equally to opportunity and democracy for generations to come, shrinking the gap between those with means and those without. 
  
This is why hundreds of racial justice and civil rights groups have signed this letter urging members of the Tri-Caucus to bring their support for the FCC’s recent decision to use Title II of the Communications Act to pass enforceable Net Neutrality rules. 

As a federal court noted last year, without classifying Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T as a common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, the FCC would be unable to protect consumers from blocking and discrimination online. 
  
Recognizing that consumers and creators deserve and require protections from these harmful practices, the FCC took the appropriate step of crafting enforceable and carefully tailored rules to preserve the Open Internet. As the court and the FCC have stated, ISPs have the technical ability to create fast lanes online for its rich customers and slow lanes for those who can’t buy more. Even Verizon admitted in open court that, if not for the FCC’s net neutrality rules, the company would explore ways to discriminate online. 
  
We are grateful that President Barack Obama and numerous members of the Tri-Caucus like Reps. Keith Ellison, Maxine Waters, Raul Grijalva, Eleanor Homes Norton, and Sen. Cory Booker have demonstrated such extraordinary leadership in the fight for an open Internet. Alongside supporters like Reps. Barbara Lee John Conyers Jr., Hank Johnson, Xavier Becerra, Jose Serrano, Andrea Carson, Doris Matsui, Donna Edwards, Sheila Jackson Lee, Charlie Rangel, Bobby Scott, Mark Takano and Mike Honda, these tri-caucus members have stood firmly with the American people over entrenched special interests. They have championed the FCC’s decision to pass enforceable Net Neutrality protections to ban these discriminatory and predatory online practices. 

We call upon you to do the same. 

We urge Tri-Caucus members to reject efforts by Congressional Republicans, and the big phone and cable lobby, to overturn the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules. We urge tri-caucus members to reject efforts to use the appropriations and budget processes to prevent the Commission from enforcing Net Neutrality by defunding the agency. 

These efforts by the GOP would strip the Commission of its legal authority to enforce Open Internet protections using Title II of the Communications Act, which threatens the FCC’s ability to pursue other important broadband policy goals. 

Veteran civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis spoke powerfully on why he supported the FCC’s effort to adopt Net Neutrality protections, and to the reasons why we urge your support now: 
  
“If we had the technology, if we had the Internet during the movement, we could have done more, much more, to bring people together from all around the country, to organize and work together to build the beloved community. That is why it is so important for us to protect the Internet. Every voice matters, and we cannot let the interests of profit silence the voices of those pursuing human dignity.”  

Over the past year, more than 100 racial justice and civil rights organizations joined over four million people to urge the FCC to use its Title II authority to adopt Net Neutrality rules. On February 27th, despite long odds and many predictions to the contrary, our voices prevailed. The FCC heeded our call.  

Now, those with a mission of civil rights and racial justice are calling on the Tri-Caucus once again to protect and fight for our collective online and digital voice by rejecting efforts to overturn the will of the people. 
  
We respectfully request that you reject any and all effort to overturn or weaken the FCC’s historic decision, or their ability to enforce that decision. We urge you to join millions of digital equality champions on the right side of public opinion and history.  

You will be in excellent company. 
  
Sincerely,  

Civil Rights and Racial Justice Voices for an Open Internet

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