The Federal Communications Commission may have repealed the Obama-era net neutrality rules on Thursday, but the movement against the repeal had one very powerful voice: Mignon Clyburn.
An open and free internet is something near and dear to Clyburn, the first Black woman to become commissioner of the FCC. She denounced the commission’s decision walking back net neutrality protections after fighting hard against the FCC’s roiling reversal of course. The democrat, who was part of a three-person squad that helped to establish net neutrality rules, spoke with such eloquent prose in condemning the Republican-flanked commission to undo guidelines, The Verge reported, that thwart hungry internet providers from having free rein over the net.
If people want to know exactly what drives Clyburn, then her words and actions provide many insights. Her record, dominated by her concerns for communities of color, has proven that she’s an outspoken advocate for marginalized folks for some time now. Clyburn previously was a member and chair of the Public Square Commission in South Carolina, according to the FCC. Also, she was the publisher and general manager of the Coastal Times, a newspaper that covered issues tied to African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina. She co-owned the family-founded paper for 14 years.
Clyburn has made use of her business knowledge in her previous roles. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Banking, Finance and Economics.
She joined the FCC during the Obama administration in 2009, rising to acting chairwoman and commissioner in early 2013. Since then, she has provided such an ancillary voice for net neutrality, with many folks joining in her supported #SaveNetNeutrality online campaign. Many people of color see the polemic move against an open internet as an affront, a disservice against civil rights activist groups that use social media to communicate and mobilize.
The FCC may have landed a win now, but there is already a strong blowback against its decision, which Clyburn will most likely try to overturn.