Celebrating The Undivide Project’s First Anniversary: A Year of Progress Towards Digital Justice and Climate Resilience
It has been one year since The Undivide Project (T-UP) was born out of frustration and a desire for change. This organization was created to address the systemic divestment of BIPOC and rural communities, which are often viewed as sacrificial lambs for the progress of those with the knowledge, skills, money, and political access to take advantage of the digital economy. The digital divide is an issue that has been discussed for decades, but it has only become more urgent with the existential threat of climate change. In this “internet to come,” there are already “haves and have nots.” T-UP was designed to bridge this gap and create a more just and equitable society for all.
As a Black woman, it is not lost on me that I made this move on the final day of Black History Month. My demographic often feels the impact of neglect and divestment first and worst. Despite receiving small amounts of VC, grant, government, and other kinds of funding, we are often challenged, and our worth is downplayed. In fact, the first months of my project were met with disdain and the weird belief that I was intending to embarrass the current Administration as it was sending out generational amounts of equity and justice-based funding into BIPOC communities. The notion that this effort needed guidance or that historical problems are not to be solved by government spending alone — no matter how ambitious — could not be decoupled from the bias.
However, over the past year, supporters of every race, gender, and background have come forward to support this work. We have created storytelling initiatives, micro docs, and policy guidance to center the voices of communities and help the aforementioned government make better decisions about how to allocate resources and design effective programs. We started a mapping project to make critical information about digital divestment and climate risk accessible to the communities that need it most.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned over this past year is that we are better when we are together. The support we have received from various communities has been overwhelming, and it has reinforced our belief that change is possible. We are excited to announce our next steps, as we embark on an audacious journey to look at how climate risk, intentional divestment, and social risk are impacting African-American communities. We will continue our push for a digital justice policy framework that centers the voices and needs of the communities most affected by the digital divide. Also, standby for an exciting digital collaboration.
As we celebrate our first anniversary, we want to express our gratitude to everyone who has supported us along the way. We could not have made it this far without your help. We look forward to continuing this journey with you and making even more progress toward digital justice and climate resilience. Together, we can build a more just and equitable world for all.