by: Hector Mujica, Social Responsibility Strategist, Google
As a Latino born in Venezuela and raised in Miami, and now as a proud American citizen working for Google, I can closely relate to the needs of the Latino community. This deep understanding has led me to become an advocate for digital inclusion. Knowing the transformative and disruptive power of the Internet in the world – and as an agent of knowledge, communication, and reform – it is evident that digital access is key in today’s society. Unfortunately, the Latino community in the United States, is still not connected. According to Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), only 52 % of Latino households are connected to the internet at home, making them much less likely to use broadband than Blacks (71%), Asians (75%), and Whites (81%). These figures are not only shocking, but they are a reflection of the depth of the inequalities that exist in our communities, and a call to action.
Google has been hard at work in understanding and addressing the complexities brought on by the digital divide. We are a stakeholder in helping communities to bridge the digital divide, and we need strong local partners who are closest to the people impacted to deliver smart and sustainable solutions.
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. A key component of realizing that mission involved bridging the digital divide in our own communities. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Latino Community Foundation to provide funds, Chromebooks and trainings to teach the Latinos how to leverage the web for success.
Googlers (Hispanic Resource Employee Group) also marked Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting LCF Family Health+Tech Day for the past two years where we invited members of the local Latino community to spend an afternoon at Google learning how to eat healthy, stay active, and leverage technology for health and learning. But our commitment to the Hispanic community in bridging the digital divide does not end in the Bay Area, we have also been piloting trainings and device donations at other locations around the state, and around the country.
Access to the web has had a profound impact in my own life. It has helped shape my knowledge, ideas, and my passions. It has also opened doors to new opportunities I otherwise would not have had access to. It is my hope that with efforts of companies like Google and organizations like the Latino Community Foundation we will fully connect everyone, everywhere to the power of the web. Join us today.