Digital Inclusion, Social Justice & Racial Equity
Digital inequities pose a significant barrier to opportunity and success for millions of students, families, and adults across the country, and has a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Digital exclusion is not a stand-alone issue, but part and parcel of the many inequities that exist in our society today as a result of generations of systematic racism and social injustice.
Tech Goes Home is committed to advancing digital equity by providing digital inclusion programs that open up access to and empower participation in essential resources including education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and the census. By providing computers, internet connectivity, and training to use those tools, Tech Goes Home’s programs work to create a more equitable society where all members of our community have access to the digital world and the opportunities it provides.
Digital skills and access to internet-connected devices are critical for students to complete homework and participate in distance learning, yet an estimated 16 million public school students lack access to either an internet connection or device for learning at home. Students of color - Black and Native American students in particular - are overrepresented among those without access. At a time when access to virtual learning is more important than ever, Tech Goes Home’s education programs provide students and their families with the essential digital resources and training that remove barriers to pursuing academic achievement.
Applying for, advancing in, and accessing higher-paying job opportunities increasingly requires a range of digital skillsets, and yet the data show that workers of color are “overrepresented among those with limited or no digital skills”. Of all Black workers, 13% have advanced digital skills, compared to 41% of white workers. Economic justice is racial justice, and Tech Goes Home’s programs provide adults with tools, access, and skills training that open up pathways for job opportunities that require digital skills.
Now more than ever, access to healthcare information and telemedicine is critical to the health and safety of communities across the country. And yet, many households don’t have access to those resources due to a lack of internet connectivity (18% of households) or a home computer (23%). A recent study showed that access to the internet – and the skills to use it – “can deliver services that touch every social determinant of health [...] from economic stability, to education, to social supports, to civic agency." The pandemic has again laid bare the social determinants of health that have led to increased rates of COVID-19 infection in communities of color across the Commonwealth, and Tech Goes Home is working to mitigate those determinants by increasing access to essential health resources.
With the 2020 census being conducted largely online, digital access is critical to ensuring we count every member of our communities in order to secure equitable funding for schools, housing, and other vital community resources. Many of the populations that have been deemed “hard-to-count” by the U.S. Census Bureau are members of historically marginalized communities that disproportionately face digital exclusion, including immigrant families, residents of dense urban areas, individuals experiencing homelessness, and individuals with disabilities. Through Tech Goes Home’s digital inclusion programs, we are empowering communities with the digital tools and training to participate in the census online.
Training, Tools, & Access
In partnership with our network of nearly 200 community organizations, Tech Goes Home empowers the community members we serve to use the internet as a tool for pursuing educational opportunities, finding jobs, accessing healthcare, fulfilling their essential needs from home, and making their voices heard. We welcome you to join us in achieving our goal of ensuring that every Greater Boston resident has the skills, tools, and access to take full advantage of the internet and the opportunities it offers.