Louisville, Kentucky (February 15, 2022) – February is Black History Month, and like many other nonprofits across the country, Connected Nation (CN) is seizing the opportunity to draw attention to the contributions of members of the Black community that are all too often overlooked.
For CN, team members have focused on celebrating Black history makers who have contributed to technology through the years, as well as topics related to the access, adoption, and use of broadband (high-speed internet). That’s because they align with our work.
We’re fond of saying, “Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation,” because our mission is focused on inclusion — ensuring that all people can access the resources and opportunities the internet and related technologies can provide.
In honor of Black History Month, I felt it was important to highlight and understand an issue CN grapples with daily — the digital disparities in our country that impact communities of color disproportionately — and talk about institutions that are playing a critical role in bridging the Digital Divide.
Right now, too many members of the Black community are left out of opportunities that can improve their lives simply because they do not have adequate access.
One of the most compelling stories developing across the country is about the efforts Black churches are making to bridge the Digital Divide.
“Throughout our country’s history, Black churches have played a pivotal role in effecting change in the United States, including but not limited to the Civil Rights Movement,” said Heather Gate, Vice President of Digital Inclusion, CN. “It is fitting that today, in this age of technology, they are embracing the challenge of advancing digital inclusion in their congregations and in our communities. To do this work, churches are transforming some of their spaces into computer labs, classrooms, digital literacy training centers, and are helping to bring awareness to digital inclusion services. It is magnificent to see.”
It’s so important that the Black Churches for Broadband coalition calls access to the internet “a Civil Rights issue” and estimates that only about 71% of Black families have broadband internet service at home.
The organization writes that “internet access is critical to our advancement, opening the door to educational and economic opportunities, health care services, family and church connections, and civic engagement and activism. Every member of our community should share in these opportunities.”
The coalition seeks to support community churches that are helping Black families and individuals gain access to the broadband. This is not just the right thing to do, it’s the moral thing to do.
To further understand the role of Black churches, I will be discussing the topic in an upcoming podcast this month and will add a link here once published.
Black History Month comes once a year, but I would argue the contributions of institutions serving Black communities should be shared daily, and that we must all work hard every single day to create a more equitable and just world, both online and in person.
Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.
About the author: Jessica Denson is the Communications Director for Connected Nation. In that role, she is responsible for overall brand strategy, which includes building program recognition through digital communications, media relations, and marketing opportunities.
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