#514 Online: Digital Equity - A 40 Year Community Retrospective
Pierre Clark, co-founder of the Chicago Digital Access Alliance Inc. and founder/convenor of the Digital Excellence Consortium
Digital equity has begun appearing more in the news with the exposure by the pandemic of digital inequities in access, training, skills building and workforce development among underserved urban and rural communities, low-income residents and seniors. But digital equity - the absence of which is commonly referred to as the digital divide - has been a forty year issue that has persisted since the first PCs - Apple and IBM - were developed and widely distributed in 1977 and 1981 respectively.
As the tech companies we are familiar with today - Microsoft, Google, AT&T, HP, Facebook/Meta, Cisco and others - grew into trillion dollar behemoths, digital inequities grew also, along with a widening of the wealth gap and economic inequities that are closely related. For the most part, efforts to narrow or eliminate the digital divide have been largely ignored by the tech companies and society in general. Community volunteers and organizations focused on technology access - more recently called Digital Equity - have led the push in urban and rural communities without the support of foundations, corporations.
Now the Biden administration has allocated a reported $65 billion toward closing the digital divide. Where are communities represented in the planning and execution of digital divide elimination programs and what is the history of community efforts that have kept the movement alive? Pierre Clark, co-founder of the Chicago Digital Access Alliance Inc. and founder/convenor of the Digital Excellence Consortium, will discuss.
ASL This event will not have an American Sign Language interpreter.
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