Tag Archive | Community

Open Gates – My FCC Testimony

On Tuesday, December 15, 2009, I testified at an FCC workshop entitled “Speech, Democratic Engagement and the Open Internet.” Video of the hearing is embedded below and available on YouTube. The moderator introduces me at 58:27, and my roughly 6 minute remarks begin at 59:07. The Q&A that begins at 1:26:18 (My answers are at 1:28:00-1:29:29 and 1:41:20-1:43:31).

My message was that an open internet is necessary for the political participation of all people of all shapes, sizes, races and income in the future. My full opening statement with references is below.

One Love. One II.

Read More…


We Need Workers, Not Volunteers

20 Dollar Bill - Source: Darren Hester (http://flickr.com/photos/ppdigital/2054207669/)

I’m just as excited as the next activist to see so many people engaging in the electoral process this year. People are phone-banking, canvasing, knocking on doors, calling their congress members, etc. All of this volunteerism is beautiful, an expression what passionate political participation by an informed and interested citizenry should look like in a democracy.

What’s not to like?

Well, there is actually one big thing not to like: Very, very little of this is sustainable. That’s right. 95% of this enthusiasm and participation will likely die the day after election day, with the other 5% dying the day after inauguration day.

Why is this not sustainable?

One word: money. Read More…

Supporting the troops: soundbytes or action?

Anyone who knows me that if I am in town, I play pool with my dad…religiously. But last weekend I had a life changing experience. While my Dad and I were wrapping up our last game (and I did win last week, by the way) a White guy stumbles up to me with a beer in his hand (who we will call Dave) whose breath reeks of alcohol, spiked hair, plaid shorts, and flip flops. Through stuttering and some mumbling, Dave tells me that he always wanted to play pool with someone from Detroit.

Politely, I try to decline Dave and tell him that I am about to go leave. For some reason, Dave doesn’t quite understand what I am saying and I get the sense he is going to be heart broken if I don’t play pool with him. So I tell my Dad to pay for the time and tell the cashier to restart the time.

Dave was born and raised in Southfield, MI, a suburb that borders Detroit and his game is nine-ball and as I rack the balls, Dave reveals that he just got back from Iraq. He tells me about the horrors of war and how I should never ever join the army. Dave needs to vent more than anything so I listen as he says, “Man I would rather cut grass than scissors than go back over there. It’s like we’re sitting ducks just driving around waiting to get blown up…It’s nothing like the movies.” As we play, I am entranced at Dave’s anguish and misery, thinking to myself, “Dave will never be the same as a result of this war.” Read More…

5 things you should be talking about

What’s up fam,

I wanted to hit a variety of topics today.

1) First off, why is there not more coverage of the relief efforts of people impacted by the earthquakes in China and Myanmar? In case you hadn’t read, nearly 70,000 people died in this earthquake and millions more are now homeless. To help put it in context, imagine instantly losing 7 people in your life without being able to say goodbye and multiply that grief by 100,000. I guess coverage of the earthquake is worth far less than what the DNC RBC planned to do with the Michigan and Florida delegates. Read More…

The Future of the Civil Rights Movement

Our good friend and true SuperSpade Jill Tubman from Jack and Jill Politics put up this awesome piece about the future of the Civil Rights Movement and how technology figures into the equation. I have posted the piece in its entirety and it is a must read.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Civil Rights Groups Wither – New Ones Taking Their Place

This Washington Post story Civil Rights Groups Seeing Gradual End of Their Era ends with this sentence though I’d like to start my response with it. It quotes E. Ethelbert Miller:


“What would happen if W.E.B. Du Bois or Marcus Garvey had a laptop?” Du Bois helped found the NAACP in 1909, and Garvey, a rival, started a back-to-Africa movement around the same time.


We are the answer to that question. In the vacuum of black leadership 40 years after Martin Luther King’s death, it’s his spiritual grandchildren that are carrying his mission forward now and not the civil rights groups he might have recognized. From the WaPo piece (emphasis mine):


In New York, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which helped shape the movement’s philosophy after adopting Mohandas K. Gandhi’s doctrine of nonviolent protest, is scarcely known outside Manhattan. CORE conceded that it now has about 10 percent of the 150,000 members it listed in the 1960s. Read More…

Gentrification of Detroit: Will Shiny New Projects Push Out the Old Residents?

Cross-posted at the Michigan Messenger

When Woodbridge Estates redeveloped the decaying Jeffries Projects site just west of Wayne State University in Detroit, they renovated one of the old towers that are visible from the Lodge Freeway and outfitted the tower with a giant clock. The clock is a tangible symbol that it’s a new time in Detroit.

Yet some fear such gentrification of the city will in time become a social problem of its own, pushing out current residents in favor of suburbanites with more money. Read More…

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and firefighters

Michigan’s native son Mitt Romney falsely claimed that he watched his father, former Michigan governor George Romney marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Romney’s campaign had to backtrack when called to the carpet because when yesterday “Romney’s campaign said his recollections of watching his father, an ardent civil rights supporter, march with King were meant to be figurative.”

Not that I am surprised but when I think about the currency that King holds in the American psyche, I am trying to figure out if we need a new claim to truly honoring the civil rights movement…like working on civil rights!!! Lest Romney stand alone, I am specifically skeptical of people like Andrew Young and Jesse Jackson who can honestly say they have marched with MLK and have reaped (and sold unfortunately) an inordinate amount moral authority as a result. Read More…