Human and digital rights groups are planning on demonstrating at next week’s Dreamforce conference as Salesforce refuses to drop contract with US Border Patrol
Organizations including Fight for the Future, Color of Change, Demand Progress, Defending Rights and Dissent, Mijente, Presente, RAICES, and Sum of Us have all launched petitions totaling in more than 300,000 people asking Salesforce co-CEOs Marc Benioff and Keith Block to cancel their contract with border patrol. Now these same organizations intend to organize protests at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s flagship conference next week.
Salesforce executives have continually refused, made excuses, and attempted to sweep the issue under the rug. In response, RAICES, one of the nation’s leading immigrants rights groups, recently refused a $250,000 donation from Salesforce, and Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters pulled out of catering their flagship conference, Dreamforce.
The Dreamforce demonstrations are planned for September 25th.
Leaders from the coalition issued these statements:
“Our presence will be known at Dreamforce” said Jelani Drew, campaigner at Fight for the Future, “Big tech companies, like Salesforce, are helping agencies like ICE and CBP make it easier to spy on, target, and strip people of their human rights. We won’t be quiet about this.”
“You don’t get to claim you are a socially responsible corporation while profiting off of human misery,” said Sue Udry, executive director at Defending Rights & Dissent. “We will be at Dreamforce to expose Salesforce’s hypocrisy, and will continue to call them out until they cancel their contract with CBP.”
“While Salesforce is partying at Dreamforce, children separated from their families at the border are having their dreams crushed. We’re making our presence known at Dreamforce and inviting their headline speakers Al Gore and Will.i.am, their employees, and their clients to join our chorus and tell Marc Benioff: Cancel The Contract,” said Tihi Hayslett of Demand Progress.
“Salesforce, through its contract with Customs and Border Patrol, is complicit in the forcible separation of families and in the racist detentions and deportations of black and brown immigrants. This is unacceptable,” said Reem Suleiman, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs. “Speakers at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual conference, are in effect endorsing this relationship with CBP by not speaking out against this abuse. Shame on them.”
“Salesforce has said many times that they are a socially responsible tech company but their work with CBP is in clear contradiction to their stated value, said Scott Roberts, Senior Campaign Director with Color of Change. Actions speak louder than words. Thousands of family have been torn apart and Salesforce continues to profit in the process. Everyone at Dreamforce this week needs to reflect on their responsibility for ending the cruel punishment, targeting and criminalizing of immigrants.”
“CEO Marc Benioff continues to deny Salesforce’s role in upgrading Trump’s deportation machine as Trump grows his Border Patrol workforce with the help of Salesforce’s Community Cloud. Stop downplaying your role in the suffering of our communities, and cancel the contract,” said Marisa Franco, co founder of Mijente.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 18, 2018 Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reports today show that a DC District Court judge has ordered the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to disclose previously-unreleased information that will assist the public in understanding how millions of fake comments were submitted to the FCC using stolen names and addresses during the agency’s 2017 proceeding to repeal net neutrality. Digital rights group Fight for the Future, who was among the first to launch an investigation into the fake comments and have long called for a full investigation into the fake comments submitted onto the agency’s net neutrality docket, welcomes the court’s decision as a positive step forward for those who had their names fraudulently placed onto the FCC’s record.
The following statement can be attributed to Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s Deputy Director [pronouns: she / her]:
“My first question is: why is the FCC spending taxpayer dollars fighting journalists in court in order to keep this information secret in the first place? What are they hiding? Who are they covering for?
Fight for the Future is one of many groups that used the FCC’s bulk upload feature to submit real comments from real people concerned about the agency’s repeal of net neutrality. We have no problem with the FCC releasing this information. The only reason to keep it hidden is to prevent the public from learning which groups abused this comment system by submitting fraudulent comments, and who funded them.
Let’s face it, the FCC has lost all credibility since their alleged ‘DDoS attack’ turned out to be an outright lie that they used to downplay the overwhelming opposition to their repeal of net neutrality. This court ruling is a solid step forward for the millions of Internet users and small business owners who took the time to submit real comments opposing the FCC’s net neutrality repeal.
The FCC should comply with this court order immediately and release any and all information they have related to the fraud and abuse that they refused to address during the net neutrality public comment process.”
Fight for the Future is one of the groups behind the BattleForTheNet.com campaign and has been actively pressuring Congress to pass the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval to restore the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality protections. In May, the CRA passed the Senate in a historic bipartisan support and activists are now fighting a trench warfare campaign to force a vote in the House of Representatives.
Yesterday, FCC chairman Ajit Pai spoke at an event where he ranted about SB 822, the California bill that rebukes his repeal of net neutrality, which passed the state legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support.
It’s more than a bit ironic that Pai chose Maine to make his remarks as both its Senators, a Republican and an Independent, voted in May to overturn his resoundingly unpopular repeal of the FCC’s open Internet protections.
“No matter how hard he tries, Ajit Pai is just never going to convince a meaningful number of Internet users that letting Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T to censor the web and charge new fees is a good idea,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, “When Pai calls the California net neutrality bill the “most egregious” response to his repeal of net neutrality, the public knows to interpret that as “most badass.” Governor Jerry Brown shouldn’t let big telecoms or con artist bureaucrats like Ajit Pai push him around. He needs to sign SB 822 and set an example for the rest of the country.”
The fight over SB 822 has implications for the entire nation. Giant Internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast poured enormous amounts of money into lobbying efforts to stop the legislation. They’ve even been caught funding astroturf front groups, who targeted seniors with misleading robocalls, and ran outrageous Twitter ads generating tweets targeting California assembly members that look like they’re from real constituents. One of these groups, CALinnovates, even lies about its membership, claiming Uber is a partner when the company denies it. On Thursday, an investigative report revealed that AT&T’s top lobbyist in Sacramento is not properly registered as a lobbyist, raising ethics questions.
ISP lobbyists managed to gut SB 822 once in committee. But the bill was restored and eventually passed after massive public outcry and the threat of crowdfunded billboards targeting legislators that tried to water it down.
Fight for the Future is a maintaining a click-to-call tool and public scoreboard of how California legislators voted at battleforthenet.com/california, and will continue advocacy to ensure that Governor Jerry Brown signs SB 822 into law.
In key Republican Congressional districts across the country, constituents are meeting with their representatives and staff, urging them to sign the CRA discharge petition to restore net neutrality
In the wake of the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules that prevent internet providers from blocking and slowing traffic last December, the public backlash was swift and intense, with thousands taking to the streets and millions contacting their lawmakers. In the months since, the outrage has not diminished, and as the midterm elections near, voters are seeking action from their reps.
A recent poll conducted by IMGE Insights on behalf of the Internet Freedom Business Alliance—which focused on voters in four House battleground districts—found that 58% of undecided voters would be more likely to vote for their current Congressperson if they took action to overturn the FCC’s repeal. Meanwhile, only 8% said such an action would make them less likely to vote for that member. 56% of undecided voters said net neutrality would be an important factor in determining who they vote for.
Constituents are taking their case directly to lawmakers and staff, meeting with them in-person and urging them to reinstate strong open internet rules critical to their communities’ economies, free speech, and the ability to access crucial online services.
Following a day of action on July 19th in which nearly 70 protests and letter deliveries were held at Congressional offices in cities and towns across the country, constituents have met with key Republican representatives and their staff at district offices to convince them to support strong net neutrality rules, including: Representatives Lee Zeldin (NY-01), Jack Bergman (MI-1), John Katko (NY-24), Mike Coffman (CO-6), Peter Roskam (IL-6), John Faso (NY-19), John Curtis (UT-3) and senior staff of Reps. Steve Knight (CA-25), Tom McClintock (CA-4), Martha McSally (AZ-2), Karen Handel (GA-6), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Lloyd Smucker (PA-16), Kevin Yoder (KS-3), Tom Garrett (VA-5), John Culberson (TX-7), Mac Thornberry (TX-13), Vicky Hartzler (MO-4), Jeff Fortenberry (TX-13), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27).
To date, Representative Mike Coffman is the only GOP member of the House to take action in support of real net neutrality, despite the public’s overwhelming opposition to the FCC’s repeal. In addition to the 1.4 million Americans that have spoken out on BattlefortheNet.com since the FCC voted to repeal the rules, 7,027 small business owners, 5,100 U.S. veterans and service members, and 1,300 first responders have signed open letters calling on Congress to pass the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to restore net neutrality rules.
In May, the Senate passed a CRA resolution to overturn the FCC in an historic and bipartisan vote, 52-47. Three Republican senators sided with the entire Democratic Caucus to pass the resolution. Now a simple majority in the House, or 218 representatives, must sign a discharge petition to bring the CRA to a floor vote and pass it. Currently 177 members, including Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, have signed. Constituents are pressing lawmakers to join the ranks of representatives choosing their constituents over Big Cable by signing the discharge petition.
Whether small business owners, educators, veterans, or senior citizens dependent on an open internet, constituents have urged representatives to sign the discharge for an array of crucial reasons.
“As the owner of SMB Logic, a Kansas-based digital marketing agency, the free and open internet is critical to me, and to every single one of the small business clients I represent,” said Matthew Friedman. “Paid data prioritization and deprioritization threaten the livelihood of every single small business and market innovator and disruptor in the country, because they literally cannot—and should not have to—outspend their multinational conglomerate competitors for fair and equal access to data transmission. I am a registered voter in Lenexa, KS, represented by Kevin Yoder, and I am sincerely asking him to sign the net neutrality CRA discharge petition and vote in favor of it when it comes to a vote.”
“As a senior citizen living on a fixed income, connectivity to affordable internet is of paramount importance,” said Carolene Logue, of Shingle Springs, CA. “I live on 12 acres, five miles from the nearest commercial area. I rely on the internet for access to information regarding potential issues such as fires, weather conditions, news coverage, and entertainment. I am a registered voter in Rep. Tom McClintock’s congressional district and have visited his congressional office asking him to sign the net neutrality CRA discharge petition to force a vote in the House to restore net neutrality.”
“I fight for net neutrality as an educator wanting students to get the full benefit of online education opportunities, and as a citizen that believes the will of the majority should always matter more than that of big donors when it comes to the laws of this nation,” said Elizabeth Schmitt, of Baldwinsville, NY. “As a registered voter in New York’s 24th congressional district, I call on Congressman John Katko to sign the CRA discharge petition to allow the vote on net neutrality.”
“As a small business owner in the technology space, the fact that there is currently no rules puts my organization at a significant disadvantage relative to larger firms,” said Michael Arnett, chief operating officer of BNL Consulting, in Atlanta, GA. “We cannot realistically compete if larger businesses are allowed to negotiate better access to customers. I want the previous version of net neutrality restored immediately. Repealing net neutrality rules that encourage and protect the interests of small businesses is, at best, irresponsible and short-sighted, and, at worst, a clear promotion of big business interests over those of small businesses.”
“I am a small internet business owner, civil servant, and registered voter in the 21st district of New York. It is my hope that Rep. Elise Stefanik will take decisive action and sign the CRA discharge petition,” said Maxwell French, owner of White Dog Imaging, in Watertown, NY. “I hope she will also vote to restore the rules if the opportunity arises. It is time to stop kowtowing to corporate donors and to start acting in constituents’ best interest. The monopoly service providers and their profit motives must not be allowed to harm fair access to the internet.”
More meetings with key members will occur in the coming days, including with Rep. John Curtis (UT-03), as well as the offices of Reps. Mike Gallagher (WI-08), Jeff Denham (CA-10), and others. These meetings also precede a larger campaign from national grassroots groups Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and allies to aggressively educate voters on candidates’ stances on net neutrality and the CRA discharge ahead of the midterms.
Advocacy groups are calling on Will.i.am, Andre Iguodala, Al Gore, Adrian Grenier and other speakers to pull out of Salesforce’s upcoming conference, Dreamforce.
This summer, news broke of Salesforce’s government contract with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Since then activists across the country have protested, employees have organized, and a steady growing coalition of organizations that are Salesforce customers have called on the company to cut ties with CBP.
Salesforce executives has continually refused, made excuses, and attempted to sweep the issue under the rug. In response, RAICES, one of the nation’s leading immigrants rights groups, recently refused a $250,000 donation from Salesforce, and Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters pulled out of catering their flagship conference, Dreamforce.
Now, a coalition of organizations that include, Color of Change, Demand Progress, Defending Rights and Dissent, Fight for the Future, Mijente, Presente, RAICES, Sum of Us are asking speakers at Dreamforce asking them either drop out or use their platform to speak on the issue of Salesforce’s contract with CBP.
If Salesforce continues to ignore the issue, these groups plan to escalate to high profile in person protests at Dreamforce and associated events. Advocates presence will be known through the week of Dreamforce.
Leaders from the coalition issued these statements:
“Salesforce prides itself on being a socially responsible company and usually partners with those who share that same values” said Jelani Drew, campaigner for Fight for the Future, “We’re asking featured speakers at Dreamforce to use their platform to urge Salesforce to drop their contract with CBP. We’ve seen how tech has been used to drive the human suffering and tragedy. This is the perfect time for Salesforce executives to determine what they want their legacy to be: tech leader or complicit?”
“Salesforce cannot go on with business as usual and promote themselves as a socially responsible tech company, at their annual Dreamforce conference, when thousands of families are being torn apart and traumatized under Trump’s immigration policies,” said Scott Roberts, Senior Campaign Director of Color Of Change. “Black and Brown immigrants are being detained and deported at alarming rates, subjected to racial profiling, and unlawful surveillance. Salesforce is fundamentally powering these extremely racist and harmful policies by working with Customs and Border Patrol. The speakers at Dreamforce should use their platform to urge Salesforce to choose people over profits and cancel its contract with CBP.“
"The time to act, to stand on the right side of history, to be a true moral leader, is now. While Salesforce celebrates its annual Dreamforce event, families ripped apart at the border are still broken and separated. Children will sleep not knowing where they parents are or when they will see them again. And Salesforce, through its contract with CBP is complicit. We’re calling on featured speakers, Will.i.am, Al Gore and others to use their platform, now and while on stage, to call for change. To say directly to Salesforce and in plain words: Cancel the Contract.” Said Tihi Hayslett, campaigner at Demand Progress.
“Salesforce, through its contract with Customs and Border Patrol, is complicit in the forcible separation of families and in the racist detentions and deportations of black and brown immigrants. This is unacceptable,” explained Reem Suleiman, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs. “Speakers at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual conference, should use their platforms to either speak out against this abuse, or refuse to participate.”
“While people of conscience are horrified by our government’s policy of ripping families apart and detaining children, Salesforce has decided to facilitate these human rights abuses,” stated Chip Gibbons, Policy and Legislative Counsel at Defending Rights and Dissent. “Corporate profiteering from human rights deprivations is unacceptable. Salesforce must make a choice: live up to their purported ideals or be a willing accomplice to the Trump Administration’s inhumanity.”
“No company should be in the business of caging our families and destroying our democracy,” said Matt Nelson, Executive Director of Presente.org, the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group. “Salesforce cannot ask for our business by day and help lock up our families at night. We’re demanding real leadership — not just platitudes from the Salesforce cloud — and our hundreds of thousands of members across the country will only support companies who are not afraid to protect our human rights.”
“We stand with the over 800 Salesforce workers who’ve asked Salesforce leadership to commit to canceling the CBP contract,” said Jonathan Ryan, Executive Director of RAICES, the largest immigration legal services non-profit in TX, focusing on underserved immigrant children, families and refugees. “We rejected the $250,000 donation from Salesforce because of their refusal to cancel their contract with CBP. The Dreamforce speakers have the opportunity to stand with immigrants, and we strongly encourage them to do so”.
“We need the Dreamforce speakers to say “not in my name” and condemn Salesforce’s decision to support Trump’s deportation machine,” said Marisa Franco, co-founder of Mijente, a political home for Latinx & Chicanx organizing. ”Our immigrant community is afraid to attend birthday parties with family and friends because of Trump’s crackdown. Salesforce leadership must be reminded that there is no neutrality in times of rising authoritarianism.”