Bridging the Digital Divide in the COVID-19 Era: A Virtual Fireside Chat

Geoffrey Starks, Quinton Lucas, Mark Bedell, Melissa Robinson, Marshall Stewart, Carrie Coogan, Gwendolyn Grant, Clint Odom
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
10:00 am

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the pervasive and pernicious impact that the digital divide – the economic, educational, and social inequity between those who have computers and online access and those who do not – is having on Black Americans and other disadvantaged populations in Kansas City and across the country.

Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks (a native of Kansas City), KC Mayor Quinton Lucas, Third District Kansas City Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, and Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell headline a virtual panel discussion of this critical issue. Broadband access is as much a household necessity as water, gas, and electricity in today’s technology-driven society. The blue-ribbon group assesses local and national efforts to ensure that homes and individuals across the city, state, and nation have access to the modern information and communications technology that is crucial to navigating everyday life.

Joining Starks, Lucas, Robinson, and Bedell in the discussion are Marshall Stewart, the University of Missouri’s vice chancellor for extension and engagement, and Kansas City Public Library Deputy Director Carrie Coogan, who is part of the steering council of the Kansas City Coalition for Digital Inclusion and a member National Digital Inclusion Alliance’s board of directors. Moderators are Gwendolyn Grant, CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, and Clint Odom, the National Urban League’s senior vice president for policy and advocacy and executive director of the NUL’s Washington bureau.

The session, co-presented by the Urban League of Kansas City's COVID-19 Collective Impact Collaborative, also features a message from South Carolina Rep. and U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn.