Black Brilliance Research (BBR) is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded an Internet for All Grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. BBR won the grant in partnership with the University of Washington Tacoma (UWT) for the Connect Across Tacoma project. The funding, part of the administration’s commitment to expanding internet access in underserved communities, will provide Black Brilliance Research with nearly $3 million to support its efforts to promote digital equity and inclusion.
The Connect Across Tacoma project distributes laptops to in-need students and members of the Tacoma community through the Black Brilliance Research Project, enrolls households with Internet subscriptions, and provides Digital Stewards to train digital literacy in the community. These digital equity initiatives align with the vision of Governor Jay Inslee, who has been aggressively working to ensure all Washingtonians have digital access.
The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All Initiative to connect everyone in the United States with affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service. This program directs $268 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for expanding high-speed Internet access and connectivity to eligible HBCUs, Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), and other Minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The BBR and UWT team was awarded $2.9 million from this fund.
“We are honored to receive this grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program and to be recognized for our work promoting digital equity and inclusion,” said Shaun Glaze, Lead Researcher and Director of Black Brilliance Research. “This funding will allow us to continue our efforts to bridge the digital divide and empower underserved communities with the tools and resources they need to thrive in the digital age.”
Black Brilliance Research intentionally amplifies the power of lived experience to create a world where everyone can thrive. The team is a Black-led collaboration of community members and organizations in Seattle, Washington, and surrounding areas. BBR assembled during the George Floyd uprisings to center the Black community in conversations about Black liberation. This grant will feature the work of teams in Tacoma and Pierce County in Washington.
“We believe that access to the internet is a basic human right and that everyone should have the opportunity to participate fully in the digital economy,” said Chris Webb, M.S.I. “This grant will help us to expand our reach and empower us to continue our work training community members to create their own digital and economic futures.”
The Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All Grants program is part of the American Rescue Plan, which includes more than $175 million in funding to expand internet access and digital equity initiatives in underserved communities nationwide.
“We are inspired by the Detroit Community Technology Project, a Black-led national leader and originator in community-based technology and digital equity. We’re excited to collaborate with them and other core partners like The Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective, Harriet Tubman Foundation for Safe Passage, Local Connectivity Lab, and the University of Washington Tacoma in this work.”
Chris Webb (he/him) leads the BBR Digital Equity Team and is a faculty member in the STEM+B Department of Seattle Central College. He leads the Digital Stewards training program and internships. He has 12 years of experience teaching digital and information literacy in community and university settings. His experience includes two NSF-funded projects, a PIT-UN grant, and local grants funded by the Marguerite Casey Foundation and the City of Seattle.
The UWT work will be directed by Emma Slager (they/them), assistant professor in the School of Urban Studies. Slager has partnered with BBR on previous projects on digital equity and worked with the Detroit Community Technology Project in Detroit, MI.
For more information about Black Brilliance Research and its work to promote digital equity and inclusion, visit https://www.blackbrillianceresearch.com/home.
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