In Celebration of Juneteenth

I present to you a little insight to the historical hometown hood of my youth…

The Hubbard House was an Underground Railroad terminus station which sets on a hill overlooking Lake Erie. It was instrumental in helping countless fellow humans find escape from the incomprehensible wretchedness of slavery.

It also sets right across the street from where my old high school used to be.

Unfortunately, during my time growing up in my hometown hood of Ashtabula, Ohio, I didn’t know much about the house, only that it had some vague association with slavery.

I didn’t know because back in my time the history of slavery was barely taught in school. And that which was taught about it, was glossed conveniently over… like the whitewashing of rotted wood.

My real education of slavery didn’t begin until 1977 when the landmark television miniseries ROOTS aired, a story which of course is based on Alex Haley’s hugely important book about his family’s history.

No, during my time the house was abandoned and run down and assumed haunted.

While my old high school has since been torn down, fortunately the community of Ashtabula came together to save the Hubbard House from a similar fate and worked to restore it so that it is now a beautiful and important national landmark of which I’m very proud.

#HAPPYJUNETEENTH
#BLACKLIVESMATTER

The Proxy Wars

SOPA Soap Opera
jurvetson / Foter / CC BY

Oppressive governments like China, Iran, and Syria, among many others, are spending billions to censor the internet from their populations; and other governments like Pakistan, that one might not consider to be in the same oppressive category as China and the others mentioned, are also focused on internet censorship as well, mostly for religious purposes.

But as these governments find new ways to oppress, internet freedom advocates, find new ways to circumvent the oppression. Unfortunately, those seeking access to the internet usually are not as well funded as those seeking to oppress.

Just as it funded free speech initiatives like the Voice of America during its Cold War with the Soviet Union, the United States spends large sums of money each year to fund internet freedom advocacy groups who provide the proxy tools and other technology to help those in need circumvent the government firewalls.

However, like just about every other important issue the United States is facing, its massive debt is putting the internet freedom initiative in peril. At a time when the demand for the initiative is at its greatest — the demand is so huge for the proxy tools that, without additional funding to increase speed and access, its current capability is overwhelmed — cuts to the program are inevitable.

In the coming months and years, how will these cuts affect the censored and oppressed, and especially those fighting for their lives in places like Syria where their information campaign, a campaign that relies primarily on twitter and youtube postings, is crucial to making and keeping the world aware of their very real struggle for freedom?