Source: United States Senator for Washington State Patty Murray
During a roundtable with local digital education and inclusion leaders, Senator Murray shared details on her Digital Equity Act, which would create two new federal grant programs to promote digital literacy and education programs in Washington state and nationwide
Senator Murray also heard from local leaders about the many digital inclusion efforts currently underway in Seattle and discussed best practices for promoting digital equity in historically-overlooked communities
Senator Murray: “I really believe that the federal government has to step up and be a partner in this, and that’s why I’ve introduced legislation at the federal level that is basically a two-part effort of grants to communities who are really working to deal with that digital divide”
(Seattle, WA) – Today at the Seattle Housing Authority, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, sat down with local officials, community advocates, and digital education leaders to learn more about how Seattle has successfully expanded access to digital skills and literacy education—as well as best practices and lessons from their experiences—as she discussed her latest plans to promote digital inclusion in Washington State and across the country.
“I think everybody recognizes that getting access to the internet and being able to use it for your personal reasons, your family, your business, communications, health care, so many things, it’s an integral part of so many people’s lives, but today too many people don’t have that same ability, either because they don’t have the right tools or often they don’t know how to use those tools if they have them,” Senator Murray said during the discussion. “So I really believe that the federal government has to step up and be a partner in this, and that’s why I’ve introduced legislation at the federal level that is basically a two-part effort of grants to communities who are really working to deal with that digital divide.”
A strong advocate for strengthening access to digital tools, resources and education, Senator Murray has traveled across Washington state—including stops in Tacoma, Yakima, Toledo, and Bellingham—and met with students, workers, advocates, entrepreneurs, public officials and more to discuss her Digital Equity Act, legislation which would bring the federal government to the table to support broadband access and internet education programs in communities across the country to help ensure everyone has the skills and support they need to take full advantage of the internet and compete in the 21st century economy. The bill would accomplish this by establishing two federal grant programs that would assist and empower state and local governments and organizations to tackle digital inequity in their communities.
During the discussion, Vicky Yuki, the Community Technology Program Officer for City of Seattle Information Technology, outlined Seattle’s successful leadership on digital inclusion efforts— including data illustrating the City’s long-time push to expand broadband internet access—as well as the current challenges the city faces in expanding digital access and literacy and how Senator Murray’s Digital Equity Act could help overcome these challenges. Senator Murray also heard from Farhiya Mohamed, the Executive Director of the Somali Family Safety Task Force who highlighted how community-based organizations in Seattle are stepping up to provide digital skills education to local residents, as well as the need to expand digital education and access in traditionally marginalized communities. Lastly, Seattle Housing Authority resident Elizabeth Kennedy shared her personal story of overcoming homelessness and using local digital inclusion resources to rebuild her life, as well as the importance of Seattle’s digital equity programs for people in low-income households.
For more information about the Digital Equity Act, visit HERE.