Diversity & Inclusion
Digital access / Internet

These 25 Baltimore community advocates are training to become digital equity leaders

The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation's Digital Equity Leadership Lab offers training on the workings of the internet, and efforts to democratize access around the country. Its second cohort kicks off this fall.

Laundromat customers and librarians chat at computers in the Hipp Laundromat, 2019. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation recently announced the 25 participants for its second cohort of the Digital Equity Leadership Lab (DELL).

The seven-week leadership program offers training to Baltimore City residents on everything that’s needed to become an expert on internet advocacy. Through sessions with national leaders, it provides the opportunity to learn from successes in other communities.

“The power of the internet is undeniable, it should be a force for social good, solving real problems in local communities,” said Deutsch Foundation Vice President and Director of Digital Equity Amalia Deloney, in a statement. “This requires not only that all residents have fast, affordable and reliable access, but that community members are equipped with the right tools, training and support to bring their unique perspectives and experiences forward as we redesign solutions. This is especially true for Baltimore’s communities of color who have been historically underserved and marginalized.”

The program was piloted with an initial group of community members in the spring. Following the initial cohort, grants were awarded to support a digital equity fair, and a series of listening sessions titled Youth as Digital Ambassadors. At the end of the program, this year’s participants will also be eligible to jointly apply for collaborative small-project grants that seek to bridge the digital divide, which in Baltimore City leaves 40% of households lacking wireline broadband, according to an Abell Foundation report.

The fall 2021 DELL participants are:

  • Alvin White, PCs for People
  • Tee-Kay McDonald, Village Learning Place
  • Warren Gatewood, PCs for People
  • Minju Zukowski, The 29th Street Community Center
  • Patricia Gaither, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church
  • Lo Smith, Enoch Pratt Free Library
  • Annie Malone, Village Learning Place
  • Justin Eames, City Neighbors High School
  • Gretchen LeGrand, Code in the Schools
  • Charlene Rock-Foster, Not Without Black Women
  • David Deutsch, RWD Foundation
  • Sunnie Jones, Code in the Schools
  • Daniel Wasse, Village Learning Place
  • Ishaan Pathak, Central Baltimore Partnership
  • Ann Harvey, Enoch Pratt Free Library
  • Renee Angelo-Mauk, MENTOR Maryland & Charm City Fringe
  • Dion Bowen, Fayette Street Outreach & Innovation Works
  • Tiera Tucker, Village Learning Place
  • Peymaan Motevalli-Aliabadi, Wide Angle Youth Media
  • April Lewis, Open Works
  • Nathalie Werebe, The 29th Street Community Center
  • Christopher Warman, Baltimore Community Foundation
  • Camille Kashaka, Motor House
  • Yvonne Fisher, Harwood Community Association, The 29th Street Community Center
  • Tiffany Welch, Media Rhythm Institute

During this year’s cohort, national experts will present at sessions where participants explore topics including advocacy at the Federal Communications Commission, the internet and racial justice, how the internet works and the telecommunications industry. The experts include:

  • Andrew Afflerbach, CEO and Chief Technology Officer, CTC Technology & Energy
  • Dana Floberg, Associate Director of Broadband Policy, Free Press
  • Chris Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative, Institute for Local Self Reliance
  • Gigi Sohn, Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Senior Fellow
  • Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Former Commissioner and Acting Chairwoman of the FCC
  • Darrah Blackwater, Indigenous Law & Policy Fellow, University of Arizona
  • Councilor Jonathan Paz, City Council, Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Danielle Chynoweth, Board Chair, Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
  • Brandon Forester, National Organizer for Internet Rights and Platform Accountability, MediaJustice
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Companies: PCs for People / Open Works / Enoch Pratt Free Library / Robert W. Deutsch Foundation / Code in the Schools

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