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  Purpose Overview  
 

A large and growing number of Americaís Black Families are making technology an important part of their daily lives. They regularly use the technologies that affect most facets of their lives. In fact, nearly 50% of Black Families are actively using computers in their homes and close to 30% have access to the Internet at home. These numbers are encouraging but when compared to White non-Hispanic families with computers in over 85% of their homes and home Internet access approaching 60%, the gap is serious, important, and not closing.  

The Black Family Technology Awareness Week campaign is aimed at helping those Black Families who arenít taking full advantage of todayís technologies. Technologies that can significantly improve their quality of life. The campaignís goal is to eliminate the Digital Divide for those families by exciting them about the importance of having a personal computer and Internet access at home and by explaining how they can and why they should make that a reality in their lives.   

Why Focus on the Digital Divide?  

So what can eliminating the Digital Divide do to make a difference?  Obviously, it canít solve all of the issues being faced by Black Families in the lower earnings quartile but if we can establish this technology groundswell, we can make a major difference in these familiesí futures.  

Success in the 21st century is about leveraging technology in school, at work, at home, in communications, and in almost every area of our lives. The competency gap in many important  areas of life is growing between those with access and the skills to use a personal computer and the Internet and those who donít understand its vital importance and how to take the needed steps to realize the advantages it offers. By providing this opportunity in communities across America, we will have helped them take a much needed and challenging step.  

The Vision  

ü         All Black families in America will have access to a personal computer and the Internet in their homes with the training to take full advantage of these tools in many key aspects of their lives.

ü         Black family members will use these tools to enhance their education, health, nutrition, job opportunities, communications, entertainment, and quality of life.

ü         Black family members will be able to connect electronically with mentors who will provide support and encouragement and use the examples set by a broad set of electronic role models as motivation for their future and how they can better manage their time on a day-to-day basis.  

The Goal  

Having access to a personal computer and the Internet a few hours per week is of value but having access at home 8,760 hours per year can provide the impetus for a major quality of life transition. To fully utilize the power of the personal computer and the Internet takes training and the development of confidence and skills that require far more time then a few isolated hours on a weekly basis at school. 

This isnít about generating revenue for computer manufacturers, software companies, or Internet service providers. Itís about using their powerful tools to make a major positive change in the lives of millions of capable, deserving Black Families who need the leverage that technology provides to change their quality of life.  

The Plan  

Until this Digital Divide no longer exists, Black Family Technology Awareness Week, 2006 and beyond, is committed to ensuring that:

Black Families currently unable to take full advantage of the power of the personal computer and the Internet clearly understand the importance of these tools and the reasons why they must make a family commitment as soon as possible to acquire:

ü         A personal computer for use in their home

ü         Access to the Internet and

ü         The training for all family members to fully utilize and exploit these technologies  

From this point forward, CCG intends to do the following to support these most important goals:

ü         Significantly increase the participation of K-12 schools, community based organizations, corporations, government, foundations, national Black Family support organizations, the ethnic and mainstream media, and other interested organizations.  

ü         Provide the presentations and supporting information to participating organizations that will lighten the preparation needed to get Black Families excited about:

ý        The many uses they can make of the computer and an Internet connection

ý        Acquiring their own computer and access to the Internet

ý        The value proposition that shows the affordability, the continuing decrease in prices, and the many options for acquiring a computer and access to the Internet

ý        The opportunity to get training and help to install their system, if needed, in the community from participating organizations  

The Campaign  

The increasing successes of the previous 5 national campaigns is due to the growing support of   hundreds of participating organizations - community and faith based organizations, public schools, and a variety of other concerned organizations. They are the ones who have made the plans and presented the programs that have interested participants in eliminating their familyís digital divide.  

We still have a long way to go. With the 2006 campaign, we will increase the focus on the importance of families having 24/7 use of a personal computer with access to the Internet at home. New presentations and materials will be available online for participating organizations to include in their local programs. These resources will help to explain the value of having these tools in the home for each member of the family. They will address a variety of topics including K-12 education and lifelong learning support, health and nutrition, money management, jobs, training, communications, and the cost and return on that investment.     

With the campaignís new website, we are encouraging an ongoing dialogue with participating organizations. We are looking for suggestions and requirements to improve the quality and impact of the campaign. We want to contact each organization via e-mail and also have the correct address for mailings of program support. Please enroll your organization, post your event(s), and let us hear from you.  

We are excited about this yearís campaign and look forward to continuing to work with you on this most important initiative.         

The Role of Participating Organizations  

Black Family Technology Awareness Week 2006 is committed to alerting organizations and businesses like yours that we must accelerate the effort to remove this digital divide. Our efforts have to be focused on communicating to Black Families on the negative side of the Digital Divide that these technologies have the power to change their lives. They need to know that if  these technologies are understood and embraced that they can provide significant help to open the doors that have been closed to them to this point in their lives. We must convince this very important segment of our society that by taking proactive steps, they can build a technology path to a much fuller, healthier, and happier life. This is a great opportunity but it will only happen with a lot of effort on their part with support from organizations like yours.  

The digital divide appears to have a high correlation to income and level of education that is no great surprise but the exciting thing about crossing the digital divide and having families make this commitment to technology in their homes and lives and rearranging how they spend some of their time, is that it can put them on a new and positive path that can make a dramatic difference in their future and quality of life.  

Your organization needs to discuss making the commitment to host a 2006 Black Family Technology Awareness Week program. To learn how to proceed and find the support that will help you make a major Digital Divide impact in your community, select 

Black Family Technology Awareness Week Participating Organizations

For children 3-17 years old, 24.7% of Black children had Internet access at home while 50.2% of White non-Hispanic children had Internet access at home.
Schools struggle to provide even basic skills in reading and math.
The plight of urban school systems is a major issue.

Access to computers and the Internet, and the ability to effectively use this technology, is becoming increasingly important for full participation in America's economic, political and social life. But there is strong evidence of a gap between individuals who have access to technology and those who don't.

The Digital Divide.


To be on the less fortunate side of the divide means there is less opportunity to take part in this information-based economy in which many more jobs will be related to computers. It also means that there is less opportunity to take part in the vast opportunities available online in education, shopping, entertainment, information and communication.

National Black Family Technology Awareness Week wants the Black families and youth be a part of the technological revolution.

See Seven Reasons African Americans Should Use the Internet

 
     
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