Editorial: Students speak up, get heard

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Vista Grande High School sophomores River Trujillo and Elias Suazo had a problem with Columbus Day, so they’ve done something about it.

The two high schoolers have gone around to area schools and the Taos Municipal School District board asking them to recognize and honor a day for indigenous people instead of Christopher Columbus. Last week, they achieved part of their wish. The school board agreed to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day the same day as the district celebrates the Columbus holiday.

The district won’t ditch Columbus, at least not yet.

For many people whose Spanish ancestors followed in Columbus’ footsteps, the day honoring him honors their own past.

However, for those who study history, it is a little odd to honor a guy who set out to find one country and accidentally landed on another, irrevocably changing the lives of everyone who already lived there.

We applaud these two young men who’ve set about ensuring their Taos public schools honor Native American people.

And we suggest it is time to think of another name besides Columbus for the day that honors the European ancestors of so many other Americans, in particular those of Iberian descent in Northern New Mexico.

Restore net neutrality rule

In Washington, D.C., the three Republicans on the Federal Communications Commission shot down net neutrality regulations last week.

But that was just the latest round in a yearlong fight over who should control the internet and at what price to consumers.

It was not the end of the match.

Millions of angry internet users, including those in Taos, have expressed their dismay at the FCC vote on social media, in emails to the commission and in commentaries.

And we say, "Fight on, internet consumers." Pressure Congress to restore the net neutrality regulations or come up with something better. Keep pressuring the FCC to reverse course. And pressure the few big companies, such as Verizon and Comcast, not to take advantage of this deregulation.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai swears the rollback of net neutrality will be good for competition, help small companies and generate innovation, all good for consumers. But he once worked as a Verizon attorney, so we think we know where his loyalties lie.

This is a case of follow the money. Who stands to gain financially by the FCC decision?

With the end of the net neutrality rule, the temptation will be great for Verizon, Comcast and other internet service providers to take advantage of a new opportunity to make money from their customers. And they could go one step further by deciding which websites consumers can access.

The public has already lost some internet independence because so few companies control the public’s access as service providers. Taos has two small local providers: La Plaza and Kit Carson Telecom. It remains to be seen how the rule change will affect them and their customers.

Whatever happens, customers should not cede any additional internet ground or control.

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