Today, the internet is a necessity. Particularly during this global pandemic, the internet is a life-saving resource that connects students to their education, families to doctors, and more. Currently, over 15 million students are locked out of the school house because they do not have reliable access to the internet. During this pandemic, schools across the country are closed, forcing students to learn from home through online instruction. When internet access is poor, students are mailed packets of lessons and are expected to self-teach. This is unacceptable. We need internet for all. Our students deserve better.
In previous episodes, we have talked at length about the lack of reliable internet and featured many speakers from urban zones like Chicago, Oakland and more. However, this issue isn’t only found in cities. The lack of reliable internet access is a serious problem in rural America.
This week, we spoke with Garris L. Stroud and Christia Trosper, both public school teachers and education activists in Kentucky. Garris Stroud is an eighth grade writing teacher. Christina Trosper is a high school social studies teacher. Their work in education has given them a first hand look at how the internet divide actively harms students and holds them back from learning and gaining opportunities. They each began their journey into activism and advocacy through separate paths, but their passion to fight for #internetForAll has brought them to collaborate and advocate together. Click here to read more about Garris Stroud’s advocacy work.
Garris and Christina talked about the similarities and the unique struggles rural America, and particularly Kentucky face in accessing reliable internet. Rural America spans across swaths of land, mountains and homes are oftentimes great distances away from each other. Some homes struggle to receive reliable electricity, let alone internet access. However, Garris and Christina stress how the problems that are found in urban America, mostly due to intergenerational poverty and lack of government support are the same problems that can be found in rural america. “From the Hood to the Holler,” unreliable internet access hinders education, job security, the ability to find and apply for jobs, healthcare and more.
Despite these difficulties found in rural America, Kentucky began its own journey towards improved internet access for all in 2013 by launching Kentucky Wired, a government authority to build and manage a Commonwealth-owned communications infrastructure service to provide broadband internet connectivity across Kentucky. This project has not been completed yet and has endured several political setbacks, maneuverings and changes. However, we recognize this is a step in the right direction and we must actively push the government to lay down wires and connect our citizens.
If Kentucky can do it, every single state can as well.
We encourage everyone to recognize the lack of reliable internet access can be found throughout the United States. Check out this great resource to map out your own neighborhood and see how poorly connected neighborhoods across America are: http://futureready.org/homework-gap
You can take action today. Join us online on August 26th for our National Day of Action to fight for #InternetForAll and raise awareness of the issues behind being #LoggedOut.
Tell Congress today that we need the internet to be seen as a public utility. Internet is not a luxury. Internet is a necessity and should be a right.
To find who your Senator and Assembly Members are, click here.
If you would like to add your voice, share and sign this petition:
What do you think? Let us know and share the video with your networks.
#InternetForAll #DigitalInclusion #DigitalDivide #AllStudentsNeedInternet
Don’t miss the next episode of “Access Denied” on our Facebook Live next Friday, August 14th, at 9AM Pacific Time/12 noon Eastern Standard Time.