United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry and the National Consumer Law Center produced a new State Digital Justice Advocacy Toolkit.
The State Digital Justice Advocacy Toolkit will help the faith community, advocates and others to weigh in with their state broadband offices on important digital justice issues because all states and territories are making key decisions with respect to more than $42 Billion in federal funding over the next six months.
Billions of federal dollars mean we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity: write to your state broadband office to support digital justice with this new easy-to-use resource.
The State Digital Justice Advocacy Toolkit is available to help advocates navigate the new assistance programs created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (or BIL) and the Digital Equity Act (or DEA). The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides an unprecedented $42 billion opportunity to build out broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved areas in the states and territories. The $2.75 billion Digital Equity Act provides funding to states, territories and a wide-array of organizations for digital skills training and equipment to close the digital divide.
States and territories are required to write, and seek public input on, their Initial Plans for broadband deployment and their Digital Equity Plans. The Digital Equity Plans will require states to determine how they will serve eight vulnerable groups, including everyone from rural communities to incarcerated people to people with disabilities.
The State Digital Justice Advocacy Toolkit can help connect advocates and communities with the policymakers who will run the stakeholder process. The toolkit provides key contacts in each state broadband office, the status of the state’s plans, and opportunities for stakeholder feedback.
The toolkit contains a list of resources and a sample letter to the State’s Broadband Officer. The sample letter helps to introduce an organization to the State Broadband Officer (and the state’s assigned federal program officer), offers sample concerns and recommendations, and asks for assistance in keeping abreast of state state plans. Users can download the sample letter to easily edit and customize it.
Since the adoption of a 1997 General Synod resolution, the United Church of Christ has formally recognized the need to ensure that our society does not become divided between those who are “information rich” and those who are “information poor,” leaving struggling people without the tools they need to succeed in today’s society. This summer the United Church of Christ voted again to support digital justice and access to communications for everyone.
This toolkit is another important resource for the United Church of Christ to pursue digital justice in the U.S. in furtherance of its historic and renewed commitment to pursue digital justice, read about all the resources to implement digital justice on our Synod resource page.