'The Digital Divide' is a contentious symptom of inequity. Here's how LEE members are diving in.
This “Tackling the Issues'' series dives into some of the issues LEE members are working on, like ending the digital divide, inclusiveness for LGBTIA+ students, fair school discipline, and more. See how LEE members have explored the roots of inequity – and some of the actions and progress they are making.
What is “The Digital Divide”?
The “digital divide” refers to “the gap between those who have ready access to computers and the Internet, and those who do not.” As equity-minded civic leaders trying to solve these issues, we know we want to get to the root of these problems.
First, we must analyze and ask questions — What is the digital divide? What does it look like? Who does it affect?
LEE members are tackling the issue in many halls of power – through policy, elected leadership, and organizing.
Los Angeles Unified Board of Education Unanimously Approves Resolution to Close the Digital Divide and Improve Distance and Hybrid Learning
In March 2021, the Los Angeles Unified School District unanimously voted for a board resolution to close the digital divide. The resolution was spearheaded by three LEE members — authored by Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin and co-sponsored by Board President Kelly Gonez & Board Member Nick Melvoin — and calls on the District to evaluate the household internet access and quality of service among District students, educators, and staff who support student learning.
BEE’s Digital Equity Toolkit
LEE member-led organizing alliance Baltimoreans for Educational Equity (BEE) have designed a toolkit that outlines some of the ways civic leaders can engage & join efforts to keep the digital divide from widening, moving one step closer to equity in their communities.
Comcast Doubles Internet Speeds for Families
Franca Muller Paz and Natasha Escobar, along with LEE member-led organizing alliance Baltimoreans for Educational Equity, put student voices at the center of policy change and started the conversation around raising minimum broadband speeds in 2020. As a result of their efforts, Comcast announced they would double the speed for their Internet Essentials package at no extra charge to families.
WiFi on Wheels Program Supports West Oahu Students & Families
LEE member and Executive Director of HawaiiKidsCAN, David Miyashiro, has been working to close the digital divide in Hawaii through direct service, youth advocacy, and collective impact systems change work. His organization piloted Wifi on Wheels to address the digital divide directly and provide an alternative WiFi option for 60 families in West Oahu.
How might an equity leader dive deeper into the issues to get to the root of the problem?
Using a root cause analysis framework, LEE member, Director of Regional Leadership Development at LEE, and Baltimore City School Board Commissioner, Ateira Griffin, explores possible ways & reasons for how you may see the digital divide show up in your community. She also shares how LEE is taking a bet on diverse leaders like you who lead from their experience to combat it.
Reflect on this:
- How do you see the digital divide show up in your community?
- What are some of the ways you can trace back the inequities?
- What steps can you take now to tackle this issue?
Read more about how equity-minded leaders can use root cause analysis as a framework for tackling issues.
Upcoming “Tackling the Issues” series topics: supports for non-binary students, fair school discipline, and more.
You can engage in creating systemic change too! Find out how LEE can support you by completing the form below.