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National Urban League unveils plan to close racial gap in digital sector

The Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion will help people employ the tools of information economy “to create a more equitable and inclusive society.”

National Urban League AFP via Getty Images

The National Urban League is continuing to work toward economic and social justice with their latest announcement. On Thursday (Jan. 28), the civil rights organization revealed their Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion — a comprehensive agenda aimed at helping people employ information economy tools “to create a more equitable and inclusive society.”

The plan — named after Lewis Howard Latimer, a Black draftsman, soldier, scientist and researcher whose many accomplishments include developing the phone alongside Alexander Graham Bell — aims to set up broadband networks throughout the country and connect them to every home. It will then use the networks to ensure the effective delivery of services and “create new opportunities for underserved communities to participate in the growth of the digital economy.”

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has so starkly illuminated, broadband is a necessity, not a nicety,” said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League President and CEO. “This plan addresses ‘the three A’s’ – availability, adoption, and access. Availability means the service is extended to communities of color. Adoption means communities of color can afford to connect to it. And access means the industry employs a diverse workforce and provides business opportunities to communities of color.”

According to a 2018 State of Black America® report by The National Urban League, only 2.5% of the 40,000 employees in Silicon Valley’s four major technology firms were Black. The desired interest to close racial opportunity gaps, however, have since been renewed in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Latimer Plan is one of the league’s attempts to close the racial divide in the growing tech sector, where opportunities for Black and Latinos fare in comparison to those offered to their white counterparts.

“If adopted, the Latimer Plan would improve how our country delivers healthcare, education, job training and other government services in ways that will benefit all Americans, especially those in marginalized communities,” Edward Smith II, the National Urban League’s Senior Director for the Latimer Plan, said of the new agenda.

Read more about the National Urban League’s Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion here.

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