Reflections on Digital Access
I am fully aware that I have a lot of privilege when it comes to digital access. I live in the US where service is solid, I am able to afford the monthly fees of an internet service provider, and I have both a laptop and smartphone to access the web. I am currently struggling financially but am very, very grateful that I made the decision post-divorce to invest in a laptop with some of the proceeds from selling our house. All of my current undertakings are made easier by having digital access. I am taking online college courses, I have a computer on which to write and advance my career, and my community activism is fueled by and on the web as well.
I heard about One Billion Rising while surfing the web in the fall of 2012. I tried to find an event in my area but none was planned so I decided to do it myself, even though I knew little about doing so. I started a Facebook page and have watched in amazement as it has grown. I reached out that first year to total strangers who had "liked" the page, and together we put on a great event. In 2013 around 100 people showed up on a snowy day to dance in downtown Denver, and this year even more came to my event at the Capitol. I was able to plan the entire thing using digital tools and social media, and it didn't cost me anything. The mayor even came and spoke.
I have also utilized Facebook to organize a group of family and friends to make and serve breakfast once a month at Urban Peak, Denver's only youth homeless shelter. The last two years I have also organized a gift card drive for the youth around the holidays, and both years raised $1000 so that each youth received two $10 gift cards.
I am so very grateful for internet access and digital tools, and am very concerned about the end of net neutrality. Everyone should have the right to utilize the tools that the internet provides. It is a powerful agent for social change.