12 Days of Good: Why Using Technology for Social Good is Vital
'12 Days of Good' is my way of introducing you to awesome non-profits and projects that are using technology for social good. Utilizing technology for good has been somewhat of a mantra for me ever since I got into tech over 20 years ago. It goes along with my support of the saying & belief of "Each One, Teach One and, similarly, what I call passing the "chain of giving" (aka "Pay it forward"). This was something that I realized was very important when I was 17 years old & just about to start my studies at USC. It started with pen, paper & fond memories of so many in my community who had given of their time, encouraging words & tutelage to me. But that's a story for a future post.
One of the reasons I've been talking about a need for us to bridge the Digital Divide is that it's something that's been around for far too long & I've been thinking about since the early 90's- when I realized the "new" internet was on the horizon. You see, all I could think of was all those kids in my community (Watts/Compton) who, just based on where they were born, were starting off at a disadvantage & now the "new" internet was coming out? But it wasn't just South L.A., millions of kids around the country were living in similar conditions. Computers were still too expensive for the average household and even moreso for folks in working class neighborhoods.
Technology. The great equalizer. Only one problem. Technology only levels the playing field as long as folks have access to it equally (one of the main reasons I love Open Source Software). So at the time, they were too expensive to own. To give you an idea, I bought my first PC back in '93 via mail order parts & put together by hand & it still cost me $1500 (cash, not credit)! A Pentium DX-66 with a ginormous 500MB hard drive & a gaming quality video card which sported 4MB of RAM. Yes, the watch on your wrist right now has more computing power than that $1500 "high end" rig did back then. So you can understand my distress. Computers & the new internet were set to change the world but not for folks who, through no fault of their own, weren't able to access either a computer or the internet. Twenty years later, we've come a LONG way but the Digital Divide still exists & is present in "developed" countries like the U.S.
For all of these reasons & more are why I love projects, ideas & visions that strive to make the world a better, more equitable & diverse place. As citizens of the world, it's my humble belief that it's up to all of us to do our little part to make the world a better place. I choose to use technology as the vehicle to arrive at that better future.
The beautiful thing is that I'm not alone in my beliefs. Hopefully, my series on '12 Days of Good' sheds a little light on awesome projects striving for a similar tomorrow (& today!).