Sacramento Digital Inclusion Summit

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On Wednesday, January 23rd, representatives from over 20 organizations and institutions came together in the grand hall of the Downtown Sacramento Library for a full-day summit focused on coming together for a Sacramento effort in bridging the digital divide. This initiative is still in the forming stage and is highly collaborative and open to all partners in closing this gap.

The organizing team was comprised of the Sacramento Public Library, Valley Vision, and the City of Sacramento. The program began with an overview of the problems and a norm setting for the day, which was led by Christopher Durr from the Sacramento Library. 

Christopher laid out a working definition for digital equity and inclusion which read as such:

“Everyone in the Sacramento Region has the skills, connection, and equipment to engage in the economic, civic, and cultural gains that networked technologies bring. Digital literacy is an element of this equity, but so too are access to broadband technologies, technical equipment and an inclusive culture surrounding technology.”

After discussing our working definition of digital equity and inclusion we heard from our keynote speaker, Alex Bahn the Digital Equity Manager at the City and County of San Francisco. He provided an in-depth overview of the strategy, tactics, and pilots the City and County of San Francisco has developed and tried in this effort. Alex shared with us how the City and County of San Francisco  used a human centered design process in developing their Digital Equity Playbook.

The process entailed:

  1. Empathize

  2. Define

  3. Ideate

  4. Prototype

  5. Test

During this process they went on listening tours, which consisted of both 1 on 1 interviews with community leaders as well as a number convenings of community members who helped them develop 5 personas that guided tactics illustrated in their Digital Equity Playbook. A key point he illustrated was activating workforce development centers as learning centers for programs and resources related to digital equity and inclusion.

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After the keynote, there were 10 lighting talks delivered by a variety of organizations and individuals in this space. Our executive director, Cameron Law, delivered a lighting talk and spoke about how we are seeking to mobilize and align funding toward high-impact partnerships in this space. We identified that a key challenge in generating impact is that organizations that are getting funded to run programming in the digital literacy space have the access and opportunity to serve people from the community but might not have the program expertise or capacity to create high levels of impact. Therefore, if funding was mobilized and aligned to partnerships that created connectivity between organizations that have the greatest ability to serve the community (access) with those that generate the highest levels of impact through program expertise and capacity our communities can be transformed.

To finish the summit, we worked in table groups with the objective to identify strategic priorities that are necessary in working towards and achieving digital equity. The working groups identified four strategic priorities which were:

  1. Bring Community Together

  2. Building a Database and Asset Map

  3. Access

  4. Affordability of Universal Access to the Community (Broadband)

Thank you again to the planning partners: Sacramento Public Library, Valley Vision, and the City of Sacramento.

 
Cameron Law