Urban Black communities have disproportionately been affected by the digital divide before and during the COVID-19 health crisis. This gap in technology presents a split in our communities between those that have access to computers and the internet versus those that don’t. Even with the new grading policy, parents are forced to make arrangements for students to stay elsewhere in order to get academic instruction and complete the remainder of the school year. New York City has one of the highest homeless student populations, with nearly 74,000 students living with relatives or friends. And another 34,000 living in shelters.
It was reported on April 29, 2020, NY1 over 247,000 ipads were distributed to students from the New York City Department of Education. Education has now shifted to virtual reality that pushes students of color in a greater distance towards closing the achievement gap. As some households receive laptops, and others are still waiting. What will happen to our children? All students deserve access to quality education even during the time of distance learning. Let us build a path to eliminate the digital divide by advocating for our Urban Black communities.
Consider partnering with a nonprofit, donating used laptops to a local school, contact your local elected official to support digital inclusion, or support a family in a neighborhood shelter. There’s so much we can do, but what we can’t do is give up.