Friday, January 18, 2008

Black Family Technology Awareness Week

The National Black Family Technology Awareness (BFTAW) Campaign, will celebrate the tenth annual Black Family Technology Awareness Week (BFTAW), February 10 -16, 2008. BFTAW is a national public awareness campaign designed to encourage more African Americans to incorporate technology into their daily lives. Partners and corporate supporters for this year's campaign include the IBM Corporation, EMC, US Navy, Lockheed Martin Corporation, BDPA (Black Data Processing Associates) and NACME (National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering).

Over the past nine years, more than 200 cities across the country hosted activities that not only assisted communities in getting online but also helped African Americans become more competitive by exploring technologies that will enable them to access and leverage key information from virtually anywhere. Professional and community organizations, including churches, youth groups, schools, clubs, corporations, and senior citizen centers, hosted a variety of programs designed to highlight the potential of new technology. In fact, in February of 2007, over 700 technology-related events with over 40,000 participants were held across the country. Over 38 million impressions were made through the media, direct mail, educational outreach efforts, and direct program participation.

This year's Awareness Week will culminate with the Black Family Technology Empowerment Weekend, to be held at the Baltimore Convention Center as part of the Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference, February 16, 2008, in Baltimore, MD. The event will be hosted by NPR personality Mario Armstrong.

Tyrone D. Taborn, US Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine publisher and CEO, says, "The Black Family Technology Awareness Campaign was never about simple Internet access and mere computer ownership but rather about African Americans becoming true beneficiaries of the many assets of technology and all it has to offer."

Tyrone Taborn was a contributing author for The Covenant With Black America, the New York Times best seller compiled by PBS-TV's Tavis Smiley. According to Taborn, economic empowerment for African Americans is a major factor in the "digital game." As a community, he says, African Americans must make sure they not only grow in knowledge and access but also learn how that knowledge and access can generate revenue for their families and ultimately empower the communities in which they reside. Taborn says there are many facets to the "Digital Divide," including but not limited to computer ownership and Internet access; the quality of one's Internet connection; production vs. consumption of technology; computer literacy and skill level; employment in technical jobs; and ownership of Internet and other technology-related enterprises.

Many of those critical of the attention being given to the "Digital Divide" point out that merely having a home computer will not build the many skills needed to compete in the extremely advanced, competitive, and prosperous digital world. Instead, the computer soon will be compared to other high-tech items such as cable television and the cellular phone.

But participation of African Americans in the "Digital Revolution" makes good economic sense. Studies suggest that those who embrace technology generally have higher incomes. Research shows that, compared with the African American community as a whole, those online are 73 percent more likely to live in a household having $50,000 or more in total income, 88 percent more likely to hold a college degree, and 90 percent more likely to own stocks or other market investments.

For more information about BFTAW including information on how your community can apply for a BFTAW grant, or contact CCG's Director Technology Awareness Programs, Nuria Alvarez.

What is your view on the Black Family and technology? Do we still have a digital divide?

3 comments:

Villager said...

Does anyone have BFTAW experiences to share with us?

Annejeanette Washington said...

I want to host an event in Florida. Please email me at lexuscane954@YAHOO.COM

Villager said...

Annejeanette - I will reach out to you by email. We have three chapters in Florida. Which city are you located in?