URBANA, IL. Researchers from the Community Data Clinic and community partners presented the findings from the collaborative research of the Dignifying Digital Connection Project.
Chieh-Li “Julian” Chin, Anita Chan, Tracy Smith, Jorge Rojas-Alvarez, Kainen Bell, and Jessica Black introduced to attendants of the Systematic Racism & Social Justice panel the current findings of the project Dignifying Digital Connection Project. Read the project’s August 2022 Preliminary report here
Dignifying Digital Connection works to minimize digital inequity through community partnerships that address the technology and connectivity needs of low income families in East Central Illinois. Working with 6 regional organizations focused on social services to EC-IL’s most vulnerable populations, we distributed laptops and hotspots to families and developed a research collaboration that engaged 500 households to better understand the barriers that prevent them from maintaining safe and reliable forms of digital connection. Working with partners, we also created a Tech Buddies Program that trained a 20-member team of UIUC students and local community members to support households’ continued connectivity needs in the months following their receipt of hardware. Through such efforts, Dignifying Digital Connection worked to address structural inequalities related to technology that cannot be resolved simply by growing the state’s broadband infrastructure. Our team’s findings around the overlooked human elements around “digital life and dignity” continue to put us in conversation with local partners and the State of Illinois’ new Broadband Office.
More information about this project here