Desegregate the Internet; How We can Create Digital Equity in the Wake of COVID

Tomorrow is the launch of our new podcast, “Desegregate the Internet; Access Granted” please join us at 1 pacific.  We will break down how we can all work together to desegregate the internet. We have some national digital divide experts, and we will be picking up where our last podcast, Access Denied, left off.

W.E.B. Dubois famously wrote that, “The problem of the 20th century is the color line.”  In the 21st century the problem is the access line, or broadband.  The access line and the color line closely track each other for historical and current reasons.  And when we look at the digital have and the digital have nots—the have nots tend to be lower income, urban, rural, Black and Brown.

We need to desegregate the internet.

You have already made a difference, your pressure got one of the largest internet providers to change their policies, and get rid of preconditions, like old debts, and the 40,000 of you that signed our petition, and the 163,000 of you that watched the last show, helped create the pressure that has opened the door to real and lasting change. 

It’s time to desegregate the internet and provide every family an equal on ramp to opportunity.

It’s absolutely doable, it’s a matter of will and investment.  For a fraction of what we spent in Afganistan, or of the annual military budget, we could have guaranteed every family a digital future.

COVID did not create the digital divide, but it ruthlessly exposed it.  Of the 50 million students 15-16 million of them were not able to adequately access school.  And it hasn’t gotten that much better.

A recent Forbes article stated

“Right now we have 12 million kids with no broadband, of which two million are Black. Research has shown if a child engages in internet activities during elementary school, they will do it in their career. If you don’t expose them in these younger years, the game is over. We have to place our best foot forward,” shared Dr. Dennis Kimbro, author and professor at Clark Atlanta University.

Its time to desegregate the internet.  We should be ashamed.  The pictures of babies sitting on the sidewalk near a taco bell as their only way to get to “school.”  Kids being thrown in lockup and parents being threatened, because essentially they can’t afford internet.

We are the richest country in the history of the world and we cant provide what is a new basic, a lifeline—broadband.

We absolutely can do this, we can create one nation under broadband, with liberty and equity for all.

But right now, most of us don’t have access to broadband.  And many of the “solutions” that arose during COVID were temporary ones.  However, we have a historic opportunity to actually invest in our communities.  To guarantee every family that needs it access, and to create a more durable, robust and equitable broadband infrastructure that leaves no family behind.

Please join us, there are 12 million children that need you.

What do you think?

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