MTV and I both made our debut into the world within the same year (which is apropos, considering I could sing before I could talk). Some of my earliest childhood memories involve watching the channel with entranced wonder. One artist in particular truly helped shape little Rachael’s fierce attitude, fashion sense, and desire to be a part of something – and instilled her call-to-action to be a part of the Rhythm Nation.
“People of the world unite / Strength in numbers, we can get it right …”
Perhaps — much to young Rachael’s dismay — we may never fully transform into Janet Jackson’s unified Rhythm Nation. What we are becoming, however, is a digital nation. What began decades ago as a technology trickle became a digital deluge accelerated by a worldwide pandemic. Staff meetings became Zoom meetings, classrooms across the world became virtual learning communities, and telemedicine became the new norm in those “unprecedented times.”
Understandably, with this new era came new terminology. And with new terms come new interpretations of their definitions. Some have begun to associate the term “digital equity” with a political agenda or the threat of an artificial intelligence takeover, but such fears only highlight the misunderstanding between the critical, community-driven work to ensure access and the broader public understanding of why these resources are a crucial need for so many.
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance defines digital equity to mean that everyone has “the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy.” A rising tide lifts all boats, and digital equity helps to support a healthy and growing economy. Eliminating digital barriers to success is what drives our work at The Enterprise Center and Tech Goes Home.
We can’t forget that just three short years ago, life as we knew it was abruptly halted, and many of us were forced to work from home and become facilitators of children’s virtual education. In order for our students to thrive alongside technologically proficient peers who already had access to resources in their homes, digital equity was essential.
Likewise, any employee who has sought to maintain a highly qualified employment status by learning a new program has most likely pursued digital inclusion opportunities. An estimated 92% of jobs require digital literacy skills, and because of digital inclusion efforts, programs like Tech Goes Home and the Affordable Connectivity Program are able to provide assistance in obtaining a device, affordable internet, and technology training so that everyone and anyone can thrive amongst today’s digital natives.
I’ll forever be a fan of Rhythm Nation, but it’s in this new nation – this digital nation – where little Rachael has grown up to have an impact. At Tech Goes Home, digital inclusion and digital equity are our mission, but people are our purpose. We’d love to include you in the conversation, camaraderie, community, and the call-to-action to connect this digital nation. (No rhythm required.)
Ways to get involved with TGH CHA or TGH TN:
- Become a TGH partner as a business, church, nonprofit, or other organization.
- If you speak Spanish, we’re looking to train volunteer tech trainers. Contact Melissa Callajas here.
- Spread the word about our many classes to your friends, family members, and coworkers! We offer classes tailored to teachers, artists, entrepreneurs, non-English speakers, those who want to expand office skills, older adults, and many other focus areas.