Why Black folks need broadband

The Center for Creative Voices in Media’s The Case for Universal Broadband: Now! study was released today. It says that this country needs everyone to have equal access to reliable high-speed Internet connections. I agree, and I think this is especially true for Black people.

As I alluded to in this podcast, I see Internet-access issues as issues of rights that should be protected. I take that thinking in part from the brilliant Dr. Robert Moses who wrote this concerning math education:

“Mathematics education is a civil rights issue.” — Dr. Robert Moses

Black folks must take advantage of the Internet and broadband technology at a deeper level. It’s cool to have high-speed internet access as a way to view retarded dances on YouTube or play checkers online. It’s even more cool to use the Internet as it was intended: as a tool to share information and ideas with the world.

If anyone needs an authentic mouthpiece through which they can articulate their thoughts and a lens through which they can dictate how others see them, it Black people in this country. Using the Internet at a tool to create meaningful change is the most effective tool in the activist’s handbook since the sit-in. Don’t believe me? Ask Mychal Bell and the rest of the Jena 6, who would all have been condemned to God knows what if it had not been for Black bloggers keeping this issue at the forefront of the minds of those willing to listen and act.

One Love. One II.


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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

2 responses to “Why Black folks need broadband”

  1. Anonymous says :

    it blows the mind, that we haven’t got it yet. ideas and information…on a global scale…anybody…at anytime…

    wow. to think if we collectivly began to use the internet as a tool for self experession…to think what we could show the world.

    how do we get the message out, that black folks need to start educating themselves. the digital divide expands everyday. i ask…what side will you be on?

    thanks g, for the reminder…uh, wake-up call.


  2. regi says :

    one more thing. is there anything on tv besides BET, commercials that target black kids and outdated black sitcoms?

    the revolution will definitely not be televised. it will be downloaded.

    myblackbox coming soon.

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