Future of Speech Summit. The 1st Amendment, Diversity and a Global Community

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On September 12, 2019 Full Color Future Convened The Future of Speech Summit.
The rules that govern the internet and the innovation economy as we know it are changing. At the same time, the voices of diverse content creators and technologists are still not fully represented in federal and local policy conversations. Full Color Future is working to change that. The Future of Speech Summit convened digital rights and civil rights thought leaders to discuss moderating speech and curtailing hate without unintentionally silencing diverse voices.

Hoda Howa, Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, with Chris Chambers, Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law School professor teaching culture & technology engaged in a thought-provoking conversation about the need for communities of color to play a role in defining the parameters of free speech on the Internet. They discussed that the Internet is not inherently good nor evil, but a tool that can be used to organize and tell stories, just as much as it can be used to foment hate and fear. The Internet was a critical tool for the Arab Spring’s movement for democracy, but also a tool that contributed to the murder of the Rohingya. There is a growing consensus that boundaries are needed, but the as yet unanswered question is what those boundaries should be and who will define them. Chambers argued that for people of color, who usually end up at the losing end of policy decisions when not at the table, there is a pressing need to engage in debates with government, as well as technology and media companies, about the parameters of online speech. A compelling argument to guide our advocacy is that the First Amendment was created to protect the ability of the powerless to challenge the powerful, not for the powerful to bully the powerless.