Progressive Solutions In A Changing World

Annual Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund
Public Policy and Media & Telecommunications Symposium
November 30, 2012

Post-Election Policy Breakfast
“Critical Issues Facing the Nation”
8:30am – 10:00am
Location: South American (A&B)
Program Track: Public Policy
Program Description: As the country is yet embroiled in another Presidential General Election, Main Street Americans are facing some of the worst challenges we are ever experienced. From the economy to healthcare…from budget deficits to telecommunications to the criminal justice system, America is at a crossroad in her history. The next four years are will vastly impact the stability and further direction of this broken path. During a breakfast with some of the most insightful and strategic thinkers of our day, we will explore what policies need to reversed, considered, and implemented to strengthen the foundation of our country. The focus of this breakfast will be to engage in a myriad of the complex issues low- and middle-class Americans are facing and what needs to be done to move them back into prosperity.

Networking Break
10:00am – 10:30am

“Creating Responsible Images in the Media”
10:30am – 12:00pm
Location: Pan American Room
Program Track: Images in the Media
Program Description: This session will explore the negative images and stereotypes that are still perpetuated in the media and what steps must be and are being taken to change them. Take to task; creating positive images.

Morning Session II

10:30am – 12:00pm
Location: New York Room
Program Track: Broadband
Program Description: Much has been made recently about the “Digital Divide.” Typically this catch phrase has referred to the gap between those with access to personal computers and/or Internet access and those without it. Those in rural areas and in our inner cities, where many communities of color reside, have been among the many falling on the wrong side of the divide. Today, while PCs and dial-up Internet access have proliferated, there is a new divide that separates those with access to broadband technology and those without it. Without local network hubs to connect them to the rest of the Internet, many in the rural and inner city areas cannot benefit from high-speed access to the Internet’s backbone. Even when hubs are present, there are often few, if any “last mile” options for consumers and small businesses to physically connect to the network. Access to technology – voice, video and data - means access to information, innovation and for entrepreneurs, access to capital. We cannot afford to be technologically segregated. Our panelists will discuss the merits of a national goal of universal broadband, mobility, access to capital and job competitiveness.

Morning Session III
“Prison Phone Rates”
10:30am – 12:00pm
Program Track: Telecommunications
Program Description: Exorbitant calling rates make the prison telephone industry one of the most lucrative businesses in the United States today. The terms of exclusive contracts between prisons and telephone companies result in high rates per minute and predatory connection fees. Most states require telephone companies to pay a commission to the state or county budget. The cost of these commissions are then passed on the families of incarcerated or detained individuals. Because phone calls are a critical part of the reentry process as maintaining strong family and community connections, panelists will discuss solutions to this issue; means to urge the Federal Communications Commission to pass the “Wright Petition”; and to ensure families of those who are either incarcerated or detained in immigration proceedings to remain connected.

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Telecommunications Luncheon
“Back to the Future” – Revisiting the Telecommunications Act of 1996
Location: Federal A/B
Program Description: Sixteen years ago, after years of debate, a bi-partisan Congress amended the Communications Act of 1934 to foster increased competition, convergence in the local and long distance markets, and innovation in the communications industry. Today, given the emergence of the internet, the impact of new technology not envisioned in 1996, there are calls by many across the broadcast, cable and telecommunications industries to revisit the 1996 Act.

We will explore whether it is time for the 1996 Act to be amended and discuss whether the promise of competition, diversity and innovation in the 1996 Act have been met. Should the separate silos of telephony, cable, broadcast, and the internet be retained? Should Congress address the ability of new entrants, especially small, minority and women-owned businesses to effectively compete in today’s marketplaces as licensees – not just service providers? Should the two provisions in the 1996 Act that were designed to promote small, minority and women-owned businesses and new entrants, Section 257 Market Entry Barriers and Section 714, the Telecommunications Development Fund, be retained and amended, or repealed? What role should the FCC have in an effort to revisit the Act? What can the FCC or other federal government agencies do in the interim to foster diversity and increased competition?

Program Track: Telecommunications Policy
2:00p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Title: “Financial Literacy Training Class”
Location: New York Room
Program Description: The Rainbow PUSH Coalition 1000 Churches Connected Program will host a “train the trainer”session to empower a cadre of Financial Ministry Coordinators in the areas of debt and consumer credit education, home ownership, your credit and why it is important, goal setting, managing your money, establishing, maintaining and restoring your credit, understanding credit scoring, thinking like a lender, avoiding credit traps and planning for your future. A major thrust of 1000 Churches Connected Program is economic literacy and social responsibility for churches and their members. The vitality and growth of many communities across the country is stifled by rising costs and stagnant and diminishing income that encourage people to carry large amounts of personal debt. The problem is compounded by overuse of credit cards and other unhealthy financial practices. In response, OTCC facilitates a Financial Literacy Program to deliver a message of economic responsibility through the church.