We Need Digital Equity in DC

Council of DC, Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmember David Grosso, Councilmember Elissa Silverman, Councilmember Brandon Todd, and Mayor Muriel Bowser

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The digital divide is hitting harder than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, and thousands in DC are being left behind. The proposed FY21 DC government budget removes key digital inclusion efforts. But it’s not too late.

We have until June 17 to urge the Council to take action.

In DC, 25% of households don’t have broadband. East of the Anacostia River, this jumps above 50%. In addition, about 14% of unemployed adults are not digitally literate.

We want a DC where adults have free access to digital skills training to:

  • Get a fair shot at essential career opportunities
  • Utilize technology to safely apply for a job virtually and work from home
  • Be able to assist their children with online learning
  • Perform key life and health tasks, including accessing essential online services
  • Be engaged citizens

Now is the time for DC to invest in digital skills training, access to tech devices, and access to broadband so residents of every ward are able to support their families, engage with their communities, and be included in a digital society.  

Let’s make sure our digital DC is built with inclusion and equity.

Petition by
Byte  Back Inc.
Washington, District of Columbia

To: Council of DC, Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmember David Grosso, Councilmember Elissa Silverman, Councilmember Brandon Todd, and Mayor Muriel Bowser
From: [Your Name]

We urge you to make adjustments to the FY21 budget to prioritize digital equity:

1. Appoint a Digital Inclusion Officer for the District to ensure that digital equity is included across many DC government agencies.

2. Keep DC’s main digital inclusion initiative, Connect.DC, under the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer. Connect.DC is a District leader, combining research, access to devices and broadband, and tech training.

3. Restore adult digital literacy training in DC Public Library locations.

4. Increase funding for tech training in DC’s workforce development system, under the Department of Employment Services and the Workforce Investment Council.