#UnitedWeStandVI Young Media Personalities use New Media Approaches to Inform, Educate and Mobilize without Concern for Intentional Government Interference

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Petition circulating through the efforts of V.I. community activists to, “Prohibit the billing of customers/consumers for streetlights.”

Though various countries around the globe have had incidents of temporary shutdown of the internet and or mobile technology to prevent protests, young media people in the Virgin Islands doubt the effectiveness of such an effort in the V.I. As a matter of fact, they strongly doubt that many in the V.I. would even be willing to demonstrate in public about pressing matters and that many in the community would think that losing power temporarily wasn’t anything strange. Still a few concerned citizens have banned together to tackle a common goal even in the midst of doubt of success and frustration due to lack of total unification by the people most affected.

“Here we’re used to power fluctuations, WAPA not working, phones aren’t working but normally they’re attributed to something that’s not political. I don’t think that people are as active politically as they should be, but they are using the internet and Facebook,” shared April Rose Fale Knight, local television news reporter for CBS TV2.

The latest petition circulating through the efforts of community activists is a petition to the Obama Administration to, “Prohibit the billing of customers/consumers for streetlights.” https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/prohibit-billing-customers-consumers-streetlights/zbnfSd1m

According to media reports in 2011, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) removed power to underground cell phone towers at four stations to disrupt a protest and may be the first government agency in the United States to shutter mobile-internet and phone service in a bid to quash a demonstration. http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/16/bay_area_rapid_transit_accused_of

Knight stated that though millions of instant messages may work to start demonstrations which could scare the governments into the illegal temporary shutting down of internet to prevent protests, it probably won’t have the same effect in the Virgin Islands. Knight, who was in the Philippines during the E.D.S.A. Revolution #2, experienced going out into the streets and demonstrating. “Back home, if people don’t like the president, we’d just go out an protest and then we’d have a new president,” she said. Knight was part of an activist group in the Philippines and they received messages saying “wear black, go to this place” and they went. According to Knight, this approach generated a lot of bodies because the common people were still using basic phones. http://www.forbes.com/asap/2001/0910/028.html

“Virgin Islands people don’t demonstrate. We’re not protesting, we’re bringing awareness,” local radio host Shamira “SoLove” Collins shared at an organizational meeting for #UnitedWeStandVI. “If you’re in a country that’s kind of already politically agitated, just the mention of shutting down the internet is gonna cause a protest,” shared Knight. “Not here, we’re used to stuff not working.”

“Using the internet and mobile technology isn’t as hot an idea here in the Virgin Islands, but with groups like #UnitedWeStandVI popping up, it can be,” stated Knight.

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