April 09, 2020 

By Betti Halsell 

Contributing Writer 


There has been a call to close the Digital Divide for over 25 years. The effects of the technological gap among minorities and families in rural areas are now seen on a scale of being undeniable; we are facing a time where technology is the only bridge to essential functions. Amid a global pandemic, the only way to receive food, education, medical services, or social interaction while adhering the physical distance plan requires technology and broadband connection. Former NAACP General Counsel Secretary, Kim Keenan experienced several different career roles, what has driven her professional lifeline is the significance in equal accessibility of broadband, telecommunications, and fairness within all rights to human advancement. Broadband equality needs to be embedded into federal policy and be on the minds of every lawmaker as we look to new construction of human life going forward post pandemic.


Kim Keenan has been on the front lines fighting for equality across all aspects of human life; As a Lawyer, Secretary of one of the legendary civil rights organizations NAACP,  President role of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council, (MMTC) Keenan has lead tours and events engaging with the mass population. What has been confirmed is the need for a policy in place to expand the broadband far beyond who can afford internet, it must be presented as an essential part of evolving the livelihood for all people. Reflecting on the roles digital advancements are playing in our reality today, Kim stated “…It’s a really great example of how technology can take us to such a better place.” Some of her most cherished memories, has been entering the trenches and combating the inequalities within our social system.  March 18. Keenan shared with the black owned media (outlet, Blavity, a study behind the impact of broadband equality. The Lawyer shared strong thoughts, during a time where everyone is aware of the lack of resources affected a sense of normalcy.


In her passage, How COVID-19 Is A Study In Why We Need Broadband For All, Keenan painted a picture of the importance in Broadband equality. Coronavirus has made it clear; the effects of a global crisis does not discriminate. COVID-19 affected every essential part of human existence. Those who tip-toed on the delicate line of living, felt the steepening impact of their lives regressing, ultimately coming to a complete halt. Situations that were already hard, are being made worse with less solutions available without the internet and technology being an attainable resource. Keenan stressed within this passage that no one should be in a position of falling behind. Kim protested, “No one should have to lose their connections to friends and family, stop having the ability to make money or fall behind in their education because of being on the wrong side of the digital divide.”


Pillars of a social infrastructure that were heavily relied on by those living paycheck to paycheck, came crumbling down in a matter of weeks. One is found on the wrong side of that technological gap, expenses and resources are being strained, educational accessibility is no longer as simple as walking on campus or showing for class.  The natural solution was to go digital and work remotely, but that option is not attainable for millions of Americans to make that transition. That is the core of the fight for equality. The reality is people are being left behind.  Therefore, Kim dedicated her life’s work to fighting for a stronger connection. Quoting the words found in her study, “As we face the specter of “social distancing”, telework, remote learning and home quarantine with the coronavirus, now more than ever we have a clear example of why policies that encourage broadband availability and adoption are critical. The internet is a powerful tool that can help our country stand the test of a pandemic.” There is no way to turn a blind eye from the struggle it has been to get everyone settled with internet and technology. There is no denying that this was a problem, before COVID-19.


The silver lining within this time of chaos and loss, is that it is forcing capitol hill to get aggressive with filling the gaps in digital resources. There is great force and friction in the advancement of closing the Digital Divide indefinitely. Post Pandemic, there will be a sense of gratitude that there was alert on how significant equality in broadband is beneficial for maintaining the growth for human life.

Category: News