Dec 14, 2020
We will look back on 2020 as the moment when our nation’s longstanding systemic inequities became impossible to ignore. Just look at our digital divide. Right now, over 17 million children lack the requisite connectivity plans or devices needed to participate in a remote learning mandate. It is not only a problem of broadband access. It is also a challenge of adoption, the ability of families to afford laptops and service plans. Which means that parents are also excluded from engaging in 21st century commerce, from banking, to health services, to shopping, that have increasingly, and sometimes exclusively, migrated online. The impacts are felt most acutely by those already grappling with housing and food insecurity. While federal resources are limited, municipalities have become the change makers, creating solutions and taking action to implement them. And these mayors, tribal leaders, state regulatory bodies and residents have an indefatigable partner in Next Century Cities, a national champion of digital equity, led by the remarkable Francella Ochillo. It is exciting, essential and inspiring work.