Posted on 10/08/2021

 

LOS ANGELES - Mayor Eric Garcetti celebrates National Digital Inclusion Week in South L.A. today by distributing Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots to students and their families. The event was organized in collaboration with the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), Human-I-T, the Pillars to Prosperity Foundation, and SoLa Impact. 

“Nothing could stand between our young people and access to resources, opportunities, and a stellar education,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “In Los Angeles, we’re committed to closing the digital divide and ensuring that all Angelenos have reliable internet service.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the critical need to bring reliable and affordable internet access to all Angelenos to support virtual learning, facilitate remote work for employees, and expand telehealth resources. 

This heightened need has exacerbated the challenges that lower-income communities already face because of the digital divide. Ten percent of all Angelenos lack access to the internet in their homes and Black and Latino households are only one-third as likely as White households to have internet.

At today’s event, middle school and high school students and residents of SoLa Impact’s affordable housing communities will receive a fully refurbished Google Chromebook, including a one-year warranty and tech support from Human-I-T. 

“We believe access to technology is a right, not a privilege. It’s what empowers people to study remotely, apply for jobs, attend doctor’s appointments online, connect with family, and explore new ideas and perspectives,” said Gabe Middleton, CEO at Human-I-T. “We can achieve digital equity through partnerships between communities and organizations, working together to create solutions for today's challenges. We’re proud to donate 120 laptops today to help these students start off the school year with access to online opportunities.”

In addition to the 120 laptops, LAPL will distribute up to 200 WiFi hotspots as part of the Angeleno Connectivity Trust, a partnership with the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles and T-Mobile that was launched in December 2020 to provide 18,000 WiFi hotspots to eligible K-12 students. 

The program is focused on students experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, young people with disabilities, at-risk youth, and those who may have dropped out of school or cannot attend due to lack of technological resources. To date, the City has distributed 13,000 WiFi hotspot devices. 

Accelerating the availability of low-cost broadband options throughout Los Angeles is part of the City’s larger Get Connected Los Angeles initiative and builds on Los Angeles’ digital inclusion initiatives, including upgrading the computer labs and training centers in HACLA communities. Supplementing those efforts is the L.A. Public Library’s Tech 2 Go program, where Angelenos can check out WiFi hotspots and devices at local libraries. Anyone can find local free and low-cost internet options and devices by visiting the Get Connected Los Angeles website.