CLEVELAND — On Thursday, 3News took a hard look at the digital divide – what it is, what caused it, how to fix it -- during our monthly special, “Front Row: A Turning Point.”
The show was anchored by Jim Donovan and Tiffany Tarpley. The pair broadcast live from Slavic Village, one of 14 Cleveland neighborhoods where half or more of all households do not have in-home broadband.
In Cleveland, digital inequities have been the norm for decades, causing in-home broadband service to be spotty and expensive in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. And the situation has now become a crisis, with many students lacking the WiFi and computers needed to learn at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our 3News coverage tonight introduces you to Greater Clevelanders working to draw attention to the problem and doing all they can to salvage the school year before children fall catastrophically behind – from teachers to business leaders to youth activists.
With this show, 3News announced an ongoing 3News community initiative that will focus on closing the digital divide. For the duration of the school year we will provide regular news reports on the issue, and we’ll also advocate for solutions, through projects like our Computers for Kids drive that has already collected close to 1,000 laptops and desktops to be recycled and given to students in need.
How can you help? Here are three things you can do right now to help close the digital divide:
- Donate a laptop or desktop computer for a student who needs one. WKYC Studios is spearheading a Computers for Kids drive, and personal computers are being accepted through Sept. 4 at the PCs for People office, 3216 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland. Learn more by clicking here.
- Take a stand on Ohio’s House Bill 13, which as it stands now will allocate dollars for improving internet access mainly in rural areas, if passed. Contact your state legislators now. Urge them to amend the bill so that urban areas like Cleveland will also receive the funding.
- Lastly, you can make a donation to the Digital Equity Fund, a collaboration established by The Cleveland Foundation, Cuyahoga County and T-Mobile. WKYC Studios has joined this coalition, which comes together regularly to seek solutions and make grants to close the digital divide. Donations can be made online via this Cleveland Foundation web page.