Letter to the community: Standing together in the face of adversity
In the wake of recent events, we thought it was time to check in. Here’s a letter to our community from our Executive Director Laura Tribe. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
January 31, 2017
Dear OpenMedia community,
Last week, we watched U.S. President Donald Trump issue an executive order that removed any Privacy Act protections for foreigners – and we were extremely concerned. As a digital rights organization focused on keeping the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free, this was an attack on our connected world – and we are already taking action.
Now, we look on with a mixture of confusion, disbelief, and anger following the recent actions of President Trump to ban citizens of seven predominantly-Muslim nations from entering the U.S.
OpenMedia is focused on protecting and improving the Internet. We do not belong on the left or the right of the political spectrum — we are not a partisan organization and have no political affiliation. But it’s impossible to ignore the impact that these recent events are having on our staff, and on you, our community.
As President Trump works to create more walls and barriers, we are renewing our commitment to building bridges and connectivity online. Fostering a more collaborative world is at the very core of OpenMedia’s philosophy. We envision a world where everyone is online, with equal access and opportunity – and we are dedicated to standing up for our digital rights.
Governments and experts around the world are beginning to recognize access to the Internet as a basic right. And at OpenMedia, we see just how important digital rights are to freedom of expression and self-determination.
When we are governed by the politics of fear, we grow increasingly divided. But now, more than ever, we can’t afford to be divided. So instead of feeling despair, I challenge you to find inspiration. Because in the face of such adversity, there is still so much to be inspired by.
People are taking action.
Our friends and colleagues in the U.S. and around the world are taking on critical work to safeguard our basic freedoms. We are seeing lawyers working pro bono from airport floors and organizations across all sectors joining forces to combat issues of fundamental injustice that affect us all.
And it’s not just organizations. Everyday citizens are speaking up for our rights and freedoms as often, and as loudly as they can. Protests are taking place in cities around the world. Government representatives are drowning in calls and emails from outraged citizens who are demanding to be heard – and demanding better.
And we need more of this.
OpenMedia's mission focuses on involving citizens in campaigns that keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. But to make this work, we all need a safe place to live.
We know many of you, as our community members, will be looking for ways to take action on the challenges we face in these troubling times. We will work to help provide you with those opportunities, and want to hear from you on how you believe we can play a supporting or leading role.
And if you are one of the millions of people who are currently under threat, being marginalized, or are otherwise being made to feel bad about who you are, please know that we are working to help build a world where you feel safer. You are welcome in our community, and we will fight for you.
Since its inception, the Internet has always promised to level the playing field – to improve access to knowledge, provide new economic opportunities, and bring people together to reimagine democracy in the 21st century.
But these promises were never guarantees. This is why the fight for open Internet is, essentially, a fight for an open society that allows each of us to reach our fullest potential.
And we think those are promises worth fighting for.
This isn’t going to be easy. But together with you, our supporters, we will continue to tear down walls online.
On behalf of the entire OpenMedia team