Louisville, Ky (October 9, 2020) – As we near the end of Digital Inclusion Week, 2020, I hope that your experience over these last several days has resulted in a very personal sense of inspiration and motivation. Whether you are coming to this topic as a veteran in the fight against the Digital Divide, or as a newcomer seeking to increase your understanding of the inequity that still affects millions of Americans—I hope this week has allowed for engaging dialogue and enlightenment on the topic.
The face of the Digital Divide is ever changing; it has varied measure and expression. One thing is constant however—the cost to the individual, the community, and our country for being on the wrong side of the digital divide is a crushing, debilitating price. All too often, it is paid with generational impact. The events of this year, in particular, have presented our society with many painful examples to consider.
A recent study from McKinsey & Company examined new evidence that the shutdowns caused by COVID-19 will likely exacerbate student achievement gaps among low-income and vulnerable populations, with some estimating the learning loss to exceed 12 months due to the lack of access to high-quality online learning. This can have long lasting effects, such as increased school drop-out rates and economic challenges that will only widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots later in life.
Connected Nation’s mission is firmly seated on the premise that everyone should have the opportunity to improve their lives, their families, and their communities, regardless of who they are, where they live, or how they begin.
I firmly believe that by advancing our mission, we are playing a part to enable the growth needed to overcome the historic challenges that currently confront our great nation. Technology has the infinite possibility to bring people together, to educate and to exchange ideas and discourse that combats ignorance and injustice in non-violent ways.
By working to close the Digital Divide, we can help ourselves and others develop a strong voice for positive change and provide the opportunity for individuals and communities to improve themselves when given the equal chance.
So even though we come to the end of this week, the work and the need for digital inclusion continues. I know I speak for all of us at Connected Nation in expressing sincere gratitude for Angela Siefer and her whole team at the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA)—we are happy to be alongside you, and we commend your efforts to keep this topic at the fore.
Won’t you join us? Learn more atwww.connectednation.org
About the Author: Tom Ferree provides vision and leadership, guiding Connected Nation’s industry-leading efforts to bridge the Digital Divide and bringing economic vitality to communities through technology. During his tenure, the national nonprofit’s portfolio has expanded and received acclaim as the leader in broadband mapping, planning, and program implementation. Ferree also serves on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) re-chartered Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). The committee’s mission is to make recommendations on how to accelerate the deployment of high-speed internet access.
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