The Broadband Opportunity Coalition (BBOC) promotes adoption of broadband access to the Internet and educates Americans on how important it is for them to become full and active members of online communities and the digital economy.
The coalition now has a Web site to help with that important work: changeyourtomorrow.org. The Web site’s address reflects its mission and the BBOC’s national campaign — Connect Today, Change Your Tomorrow — to make everyone aware of the vital role of broadband in improving lives.
The BBOC builds awareness through public service announcements, training in how to use digital technology, and education efforts, such as the Web site itself.
The site is a resource-rich Web destination and, given the multicultural mission of BBOC, is multilingual.
The Broadband Opportunity Coalition is unique. Formed last year through a historic collaboration of leading civil rights organizations, in partnership with One Economy Corporation, it is dedicated to helping America’s underserved communities get connected and put the Web to work to enrich their lives and help them become effective global citizens.
In 2010, as part of the Recovery Act, the administration of President Barack Obama invested $28.5 million in One Economy and the BBOC to bring Internet access and broadband adoption to low-income communities. One Economy and its partners in the BBOC matched that investment with $23 million in corporate donations.
The grant, one of the largest of its kind, is part of the Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunity Program.
“What’s important about this grant is it is going to enable many people in this country to join the 21st century,” said Rey Ramsey, chairman of the board of One Economy. “This is an age where information is the currency of being able to live, work, and play. But for too many Americans, broadband and access to information is outside of the normal course of their life. But now, because of the Recovery Act, President Obama, and the Congress … with the partnership of the Broadband Opportunity Coalition, we are going to reach deep into communities, with longstanding relationships that our partners have in those communities. That’s exciting. That’s a real difference the Recovery Act is making.”
You can hear Ramsey’s remarks, and remarks from some other members of the Broadband Opportunity Coalition, on a video on the changeyourtomorrow.org Web site’s About Us page.
One Economy works to ensure that every person, regardless of income and location, can maximize the power of technology to improve the quality of his or her life and enter the economic mainstream.
One Economy’s partners in the BBOC are:
- The Asian American Justice Center, which works to promote a fair and equitable society for all by working for civil and human rights and empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities.
- The National Council of La Raza, which serves all Hispanic subgroups throughout the nation and provides a Latino perspective on assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health.
- The League of United Latin American Citizens, which advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health, and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs nationwide.
- The National Urban League, a historic civil-rights organization that is dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities.
- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which advocates for the political, educational, social, and economic equality of minority group citizens of the United States and the elimination of race prejudice.
- The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which informs the nation’s public policy debates in order to improve the socioeconomic status of minorities, expand their effective participation in politics and policy, and promote communications and relationships across racial and ethnic lines.
- The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, a national nonprofit organization that is dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media and telecommunications industries.
“About 40 percent of Americans, 54 percent of African-Americans, and over 60 percent of Hispanics have no access to broadband technologies,” explained Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau and senior vice president for advocacy and policy. “This means they are locked out of the modern-day equation. That’s why again we are a proud member of the BBOC and look forward to making sure that every American has access to the crucial technology.”
You can learn more about that effort, find resources for education, and outreach and keep up with activities of the BBOC at changeyourtomorrow.org.
Ava L. Parker of Jacksonville, Florida, is the president of Linking Solutions Inc., a business-development and community-outreach firm, and a partner in the law firm of Lawrence & Parker, PA., and the voice of The AvaView, a blog on digital action and consumer protection.