Highlighting Sacramento Region Digital Inclusion Efforts
There has never been a more critical time for discussion of digital inclusion which has recently been referred to by the Center for Public Integrity as the “civil rights issue of our time.” As the Pandemic has upended education and workforce, it has left in its wake a widening chasm between community members with resources and those without. In recognition of National Digital Inclusion week, Valley Vision highlights the history, continuing collaborative work, and new momentum of the Sacramento Coalition for Digital Inclusion, a regional approach to creating more opportunities for digital equity.
Discussion which formed the beginnings of the Sacramento Coalition for Digital Inclusion began in the fall of 2018 inspired by a Brookings Institution report on the strengths and weaknesses of the Sacramento Capital region. A series of community discussions occurred to organize around the mission of digital equity, with the Sacramento Public Library hosting the Sacramento Digital Inclusion Summit in January 2019. This led to the creation of the Sacramento Coalition for Digital Inclusion, with more than 40 members, led by a Steering Committee comprised of the City of Sacramento, the Sacramento Public Library, Valley Vision and Social Ventures Partners. During 2019, the Coalition built collaborative relationships, conducted assessments of needs including through community engagement, and produced an initial report focused on increasing digital access, both to affordable Internet and devices, and digital literacy/skills. The City of Sacramento passed a resolution in October 2019 to launch National Digital Inclusion Week in the region.
With the onset of the Pandemic, the work of the Coalition became even more important and the need for a funding mechanism to drive forward momentum and staff this increasingly important body of work required an urgent solution. Valley Vision has been successful in securing short term funding to continue and expand this valuable work through the Morgan Family Foundation and Union Bank, on behalf of community partners and stakeholders.
Current Coalition Steering Committee members include the City of Sacramento, the Sacramento Public Library, and Valley Vision, joined by representatives from Los Rios Community College District and California State University Sacramento, with the Coalition being a vibrant group of over 60 community members and leaders. Three working groups were successfully relaunched in a well attended September Coalition meeting to establish key objectives and drive the work plan of the Coalition in the areas of Internet Access and Adoption, Technology Devices, and Digital Literacy/Digital Skills.
Valley Vision is thankful to the dedicated efforts of the Steering Committee and all members committing their time and talent to align and drive investment in a regional and sustained response to urgent digital inclusion needs. We invite you to join in this work at our next Coalition meeting on October 23rd 11 am to 12:30 pm and help us build a regional digital inclusion work plan to address disparities throughout our region and build a better future for all.
Sacramento Coalition for Digital Inclusion Steering Committee:
- Aubrey Taylor, City of Sacramento
- Jarrid Keller, Sacramento Public Library
- Karina Talamantes, City of Sacramento, Sacramento County Board of Education
- Kevin Flash, Sacramento City College
- Tamara Armstrong, Los Rios Community College District
- Dr. Yvonne Harris, California State University Sacramento
- Trish Kelly, Valley Vision, Managing Director
- Renee John, Valley Vision
- Dr. David Espinoza, Valley Vision
- Jesse Flores, Valley Vision
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Renee John is a Valley Vision Project Leader managing initiatives within the 21st Century Workforce impact area.