Black Family Technology Week

Submitted by William on Sun, 02/26/2006 - 08:48.

Hello all,  For the month of February many organizations across the country are celebrating Black Family Technology week.  Some groups are doing week long activities while others just pick a day in the month of February to raise the awareness of the importance of technology in the Black community.  The local Chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates had an exhibit in their office two weeks ago to celebrate BFTW.


One of the things I would like to attempt next year is to develop collaborative opportunities to celebrate BFTW.  Do you know of a local initiative to help reduce the digital divide?  If you do, please share the information on this network.  From this I can gather all the players in this arena and hopefully do something big next year in Northeast Ohio to celebrate BFTW.

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We can span the digital divide by next year

William, there is so much going on right now to address the digital divide here I can say we will make huge steps forward in the coming year, resulting from significant advances in wireless open source technology and just the type of cross organizational, regional, woven network collaboration you describe.


Right now I'm working with - and encourage you to also work with - a powerful collaboration attacking all aspects of technology inclusion, including ultra- and high-bandwidth accessibility, hardware availability, education, training, workforce development, community center services, neighborhood and egovernment data and social networking, IT enabled process and social service enhancements - for all generations - acrossw the region - as a focus of social service and economic development.


Of course OneCleveland is a huge factor in this - I'd talk to COO Mark Ansboury and CIO (Chief Imagination Officer) Stephen Brand to brainstorm. They can bring in any heavy hitters you need at the table. Their focus has always been connectivity and is also community portal development so they share your interests


Concerning training, computer centers, workforce development and the bulk of what is generally viewed as digital divide bridge building - and a real expert on the issue and the region - talk to Bill Callahan at Digital VIsion.


REALinks has been working for over a year on digitial divide initiatives focused on serving individuals rather than organizations - we've taken a very grass roots, volunteer approach of finding donors able to give large numbers of computers, and then having friends reconfigure them with free and open source software, and then giving them to community programs that give them directly to needy citizens. We call this extending community home online - ECHO - and it is a passion.


For over a year REALinks has been collaborating with the government of East Cleveland, OneCleveland, the Cleveland Foundation, CSU, Kent State, Case and others on a major strategic urban redevelopment project for East Cleveland that includes completely bridging that community's digital divide - right now probably 70%+ households do not have computers and internet access and high speed is not even available in much of the city... this community has been redlined as worthless by the telecommunications industry and now the social community needs to step in.


Just last Friday, we had a meeting with East Cleveland CIO Abu Ali and mayor Eric Brewer about bridging the digital divide in East Cleveland, which is one of the mayor's highest priorities, and we were joined by Bill Callahan and members of Digital VIsion's board, they can bring in Tri-C for training, the mayor has the support of his Council and School Board and super... you wouldn't believe how powerful is this situation.


Getting CAAO involved would really make a big difference, in many ways. Let's discuss this!