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Bridging the Digital Divide Where Bridges are Few

I trekked more than 1,000 miles across Mississippi with Mic‘s video team to talk to people about the digital divide in the state.

During the trip, I visited the Stone Elementary School in Wiggins, Mississippi, where Dr. Roberto Gallardo, a grassroots organizer and scholar from Mississippi State University, helped implement a robotics program. Gallardo is working to ensure that the most marginalized communities in the state can access and adopt fixed, high-speed internet. He crisscrosses the state educating elected officials and the broader public about technology with the intent of bridging the digital divide.

I asked 11-year-old Phillip Walker, a participant in the program, to teach me how to code. Like any self-assured 11-year-old born into a world of technological gadgets, he was baffled.

“How do you not know how to code?” he asked. “How’d you get this job then?

Phillip and I are miles and years apart. So, too, are our digital literacies. I can only imagine how much the gap will expand as time goes on. I am also left to wonder how anyone disconnected from the wave of new technologies can thrive.

The people most at-risk for being left behind in the digital age are those who already suffer the effects of racism, economic disenfranchisement and lack of access to resources because of where they live. In the case of Mississippi, Black and poor people, especially those who live in the rural Mississippi Delta, are most affected.

Click “play” below to watch the latest episode of Mic.com’s The Movement.

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