The National Urban League is working to address the digital divide evident across socioeconomic and racial lines. The organization’s new Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion, named after Lewis Latimer whose inventions helped bring the world telephones and electricity as we know it, would bring broadband networks to every community in the US.
The plan also includes programs to specifically support the needs of underserved communities, including equipping them with resources to take part in the digital economy.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has so starkly illuminated, broadband is a necessity, not a nicety.” National Urban League president and CEO Marc H. Morial said in a statement. “This plan addresses ‘the three A’s’ – availability, adoption, and access. Availability means the service is extended to communities of color. Adoption means communities of color can afford to connect to it. Access means the industry employs a diverse workforce and provides business opportunities to communities of color.
“Millions of American homes, businesses and other enterprises cannot fully participate in 21st-century society because there is no available broadband network.”
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, almost 52% of broadband users who are low income are worried about their ability to pay for internet service given the financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
The initiative is particularly relevant amid the pandemic, too, as millions are working and learning from home, and states rollout COVID-19 vaccine plans with online appointment sign-ups.
The National Urban League hopes to gain support for The Latimer Plan at the federal level.
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