Digital Inclusion: Working Both Sides of the Equation
Recipients of an SSRC Large Grant for collaborative action research in East Oakland, CA report on the creation of a new multi-media lab and wireless mesh network. Media Alliance and Dorothy Kidd address the ways in which effective collaborations can be formed between policy advocates and grassroots activists.
Media advocacy organization Media Alliance and researcher Dorothy Kidd at the University of San Francisco, 2008 recipients of a $30,000 Collaborative Grant from the SSRC, share updates on work that has been done in East Oakland to ensure full participation of community members and media justic organizations in conversations about the provision, production, ownership, affordability, and sustainablity of digital media and wireless communications. This work builds on Media Alliance's connections with local community organizations and the Alliance's long history of involvement in a national movement for media policy reform.
The three-part strategy included:
- Raising our Voices III: Immigrant Women Speak Out!, a free media production workshop for community leaders on issues of immigration, poverty, gender, labor and social justice
- Creation of a community multi-media lab at the Eastside Arts Alliance Cultural Center and broadband wireless build-out using open-source mesh technology (510pen.org)
- Coordinating and reporting on public forums and community meetings to discuss citizens' response and recommendations for broadband policy
On longer-term goals to build a campaign in Oakland to allow conneciton to fiber: "The campaign could lead to other important discussions including governance of broadband as a public utility, net neutrality and content management protections, and the unyoking of ISPs from Telcos who also 'own' 'infrastructure' or spectrum. So, what may start as local and municipal policies could also impact federal broadband and communications policy."