The digital divide has been undermining the academic success of students from low-income, Black, and Brown families well before the pandemic led many schools to move operations online. A growing urban digital divide between communities who have the means to use broadband Internet services and those who do not is exacerbating pre-existing racial and socio-economic inequality across the country.
A digitally-inclusive community fosters economic and workforce development, civic participation, education, healthcare, and more. As our daily lives have moved to virtual spaces, we are in a critical moment to ensure those that have had insufficient acc,ess are included, now and in the future.
LEE members in Maryland have been working diligently to close the digital divide, from driving innovative new internet solutions as heads of foundations, to organizing around digital inclusivity at the city and state level, and driving policy solutions that close opportunity challenges facing kids today.
Earlier this year members of the LEE-supported organizing alliance, Baltimoreans for Educational Equity (BEE), mobilized in support of the Digital Connectivity Act (HB96/SB66). LEE Member Kelsey Ko, wrote a piece for Maryland Matters on why passing the Digital Connectivity Act is a crucial step forward for our kids.
The bill unanimously passed out of the Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs. The Senate bill will be heard in the House Committee on Economic Matters in the coming weeks. Follow @BEEquity for the latest news and opportunities to act and #connectourkids.
BEE also convened a teach-in recently, led with Samantha Musgraves of Project Waves. Project Waves is a community-based internet service provider focused on providing digital access to all. View the livestream of the teach-in to learn more about the work Project Waves is doing in the Baltimore community and the topic of digital inclusivity.
At the federal level, BEE is banding together with groups across the country to launch an ambitious qualitative research campaign to capture the stories of families and communities that have been digitally excluded during the pandemic. These narratives will be delivered to the Federal Communications Commission, which has the power to regulate, redefine, and allocate resources to create greater connectivity to the internet.