Words by Smiley Team
The way we interact with the world is unrecognizably different from what it was just 20 or 30 years ago with the rise of the internet.
Businesses moved online, social media shifted the way we handle relationships and maintain contact, and work and schooling have moved virtual. But one thing became apparent, especially when Covid lockdowns sent everyone home: not everyone has equal access to the internet.
According to the FCC, nearly 6% of the population of the US struggles to find consistent access to the internet. This is largely among poorer or rural people who may already lack resources in other situations. As everything shifts online these people are being left in the margins. That’s where EveryoneOn comes in.
EveryoneOn is an organization that, for the last 10 years, has been working to provide affordable internet to those that struggle to find consistent access.
“This year marks our 10-year anniversary and we have much to celebrate," Norma Fernandez, CEO of EveryoneOn tells Smiley News. "When Covid arrived, exposing racial and digital inequities, we quickly went virtual and were able to reach more people with our digital skills trainings.
“The recent passage of the Infrastructure and Investments Jobs Act and launch of the Affordable Connectivity Program provide a historic opportunity to create a more equitable and inclusive approach to digital equity. These funds present a tremendous opportunity to close the digital divide.”
To EveryoneOn having access to the internet is non-negotiable.
“Accessing the internet is a human right," she says. "Without a high-speed connection, devices, and skills to use both, people cannot fully participate in our digital world.
“At EveryoneOn, we believe in digital equity - that all people should have the tools, resources and knowledge to get online so they can live full, independent lives.”
They have two primary modes of support, an internet service locator tool, and a network of “Digital Equity Champions.” With those come tools for digital literacy, and other resources to help people get online. They also have a program called ConnectHomeUSA, founded in 2015, with the goal of helping all people in public housing find accessible internet.
“This is not something government does by itself. Non-profits like EveryoneOn ... are going to help make this work on the ground,” President Obama said in 2015.
DONATE: Donate to EveryoneOn if their cause sounds like something you’d like to support.
SUPPORT: Many of the people that lack access to the internet need it for simple things like school and applying for jobs. If you see someone that needs help with those things and you can, provide a hand.