Sunday, July 26, 2009

Civil Rights to Cyber Rights: Broadband and Digital Equality in the Age of Obama

I met Dr. Jabari Simama during the 4th Annual Community Technology Summit hosted by the City of Atlanta in March 2004. Martin Luther King III and I were on a panel together at that technology summit. The entire event was the brainchild of Dr. Simama in his role as executive director of the mayor's Office of Community Technology.

As such, I look forward to reading Dr. Simama's new book, 'From Civil Rights to Cyber Rights' when it is published later this year.

The title of the book is on target according to Dr. Simama, "... not because cyberspace has made racial struggles obsolete but because those without cyber skills will be superfluous in the American political economy, not to mention in the global world. Unless we bring access to and literacy of digital technology to all Americans, we are heading toward a society and world of information haves and have-nots. Technology involves using computers, broadband and other new media to bridge the education gap, the workforce skills gap, and the economic gap."

Simama calls the new broadband, People Technology. He writes:

"People Technology . . . relates to the use of broadband, wireless, and other digital technology as tools to empower, build, and connect people and communities. It concerns using technology to extend and make meaningful the First Amendment and to provide a voice to the invisible people Ralph Ellison wrote about 60 years ago in his seminal book, The Invisible Man . . . . Thus, broadband (and its implications for people technology) is not so much about the technology, as much as it is about how technology can be, and to some extent, is being used to improve individual lives and society as a whole."

I've openly wondered whether or not BDPA is going to accept the challenges set by Barack Obama when it comes to education. I figure that this book goes hand-in-hand with Obama's effort to end the digital divide. I encourage all BETF-Blog readers to read this book as our nation considers his $7 billion broadband stimulus price tag to bridge the divide between the served and underserved.

Anyhow, you can click here to send email asking for notification about the book's availability.

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