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Center for Media Justice

California Racial Justice Leaders to ISP’s and Big Cable: We Won!

California’s racial justice leaders applaud as SB 822, comprehensive Net Neutrality bill, heads to Gov. Brown’s office for signature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 31, 2018

Contact: Imran Siddiquee, 510-698-3800 x403, imran@mediajustice.org


Today, after months of grassroots organizing and lobbying from activists, organizers, policy advocates, and Internet users themselves, the California State Senate passed SB 822, the most comprehensive net neutrality bill in the country. The bill stops the blocking and throttling of lawful traffic online, and prevents Internet service providers from implementing paid prioritization schemes. The bill also imposes limits on data cap exemptions often referred to as zero rating, which create a second class Internet experience for Californians living on low incomes.


For Black people and other underrepresented groups, this victory is historic, advancing the long-held civil rights fight for equal voice, now in a digital age. The passage of SB822 ensures Californians can continue to use the open Internet to fight real threats to democracy and human rights. In addition, a restored open Internet allows underserved communities to communicate with family and friends; find housing, employment, and educational opportunities and connect to the resources they need to thrive. The bill won in the Senate in a vote of 23-11 delivering a striking defeat to corporate Internet service providers and their lobbyists.   


The following statement can be attributed to Center for Media Justice’s National Organizer on Internet Rights, Erin Shields: “This is a victory for every Californian who uses the Internet to connect to community, economic and educational opportunities, and the basic resources they need to thrive. The Center for Media Justice expects Gov. Brown will sign this bill into law without delay, restoring civil rights protections to millions who have been failed by Chairman Pai at the FCC. This is an especially important win for Black and brown communities that have used the open Internet to correct harmful narratives and tell the real stories about our communities. Hashtags like #AbolishICE and #JusticeforStephonClark are documenting the stories and movements of historically marginalized people and creating change in real life on a scale unseen before. California has breathed new life into the fight to save net neutrality nationally on both state and federal levels.”


To aid in the passing of this bill, the Center for Media Justice worked with Fight for the Future and others to drive phone calls to state legislators, 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. California now leads the country in establishing the strongest digital protections for its residents at a critical time when similar protections are being fought for in the courts, halls of Congress, and on the streets.


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