For National Digital Inclusion Week, which concludes today, Mayor Eric Garcetti distributed Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots to South Los Angeles students and their families.
“Nothing should stand between our young people and access to resources, opportunities and a stellar education,” Garcetti said Friday. “In Los Angeles, we’re committed to closing the digital divide and ensuring that all Angelenos have reliable internet service.”
According to the mayor’s office, 10% of Angelenos lack internet access in their homes, and Black and Latino families are one-third as likely to have internet in their homes compared to white households. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closures of schools and offices highlighted the need for equal access to reliable and affordable internet.
In December 2020, the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles and T-Mobile launched a partnership — the Angeleno Connectivity Trust — to provide 18,000 WiFi hotspots to K-12 students. About 13,000 hotspots have been distributed through the program so far, and the Los Angeles Public Library will distribute an additional 200 hotspots, the mayor’s office said Friday.
The Angeleno Connectivity Trust program focuses on providing internet access to students who are experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, people with disabilities, at-risk youth and people who dropped out of school or stopped attending due to technological restrictions.
The distribution event Friday was in collaboration with the Los Angeles Public Library, Human I-T, the Pillars to Prosperity Impact and SoLa Impact. The event distributed 120 laptops to students and residents of SoLa Impact’s affordable housing communities, and the refurbished Google Chromebooks include a one-year warranty and tech support from Human I-T.
“We believe access to technology is a right, not a privilege. It’s what empowers people to study remotely, apply for jobs, attend doctor’s appointments online, connect with family and explore new ideas and perspectives,” said Gabe Middleton, CEO at Human-I-T. “We can achieve digital equity through partnerships between communities and organizations, working together to create solutions for today’s challenges. We’re proud to donate 120
laptops today to help these students start off the school year with access to online opportunities.”
People can find free and low-cost internet options and devices by visiting the city’s Get Connected website at getconnectedlosangeles.lacity.org.