Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Carlos Pareja
Education Program Manager, Brooklyn Community Access TV (BCAT)

Video Clip

My name is Carlos Pareja and I manage the education program at Brooklyn Community Access TV just down Fulton Street from here.

Our community producers and our interns are here now taping this event to share with others in our community. Communications binds a community, that’s why we’re here.

Brooklyn is a borough of 2.5 million people of diverse origins, speaking dozens of languages and we at BCAT serve everyone who lives within this great borough.

People come to BCAT from Red Hook, Midwood, Gravesend, Bedford-Stuyvesant and other neighborhoods to use their community media center to create video content for television or to use their multimedia lab to launch an open source internet browser, use a hi-speed T-1 line and work on their video blog, update their resume, their production reels or CVs and build on the knowledge gained from a community learning environment.

And then they’ll go home with some valuable skills and the confidence to enter or re-enter the workforce with a secure feeling that they’re not being left behind. That their neighborhoods will benefit from rigorous build out requirements and effectual oversight.

The fight for broadband must be connected to the media justice movement.

As an access center charged with meeting the media needs of the Brooklyn community, someday we may be loaning out WiFi cell phones with video-capturing capabilities to our community producers to document their neighborhoods. And then they’ll upload the content at some public hot spot to a BCAT server, so they can continue to speak to their community.

Technology and its rapid advancement is a tool, a means for achieving a purposeful end, but what that purpose ends up to be needs to be supported by sound, public-interest policy. That is the role of government. A broadband future where connectivity is based on the principles of universal service is what Brooklyn and NYC’s broadband plan should be.

I thank this committee for taking the time to hear from the people of Brooklyn and the representatives of their community media center.