Laura Tribe headshotAs the Executive Director of OpenMedia, Laura Tribe advocates for citizens’ rights to a free, secure and democratic internet. OpenMedia is a non-profit grassroots organization that works to keep the Internet open, affordable and surveillance-free. Tribe has presented directly to decision makers and politicians, including the Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

“Internet policy is complicated, but we want people to understand how it impacts them,” she says. “We’re the intermediaries who ensure the voices of those most affected are amplified and heard by those making the critical decisions that affect the internet.”

Tribe explored the role of communication as a human right and critical aspect of development during her master’s thesis at Carleton. This education taught her skills she still uses today.

“It wasn’t enough to think about and define my perspective; I actually had to defend it. That stayed with me: the ability to stand up for what I believe in,” she says. “It often comes into play in grassroots advocacy when we’re taking on the government or corporations. We’re used to our arguments being questioned and attacked.”

Tribe was initially hesitant to describe herself as an activist, but she has since embraced the term.

“I used to feel like activism denoted anger, but I’ve found a job where I’m trying to create something positive, which is really important to me,” she says. “I’ve seen the direct correlation between speaking up and affecting change.”

Not that it is always an easy path. “Figuring out where you fit in the world can be big and scary, but what helped me was following the things that interested me,” she explains. “I didn’t do what I was ‘supposed’ to do, but what I wanted to do… I am incredibly lucky to have found a way to do it for a living.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2024 in , ,
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