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Nurturing Digital Inclusivity: The Colorado Ethiopian Community Champions Digital Equity

Updated: Jan 17

Digital equity means that every person has the internet access, devices and digital skills to fully participate in society and the economy.



In a dynamic blend of in-person and virtual meetings held on December 19, 2023, and January 13, 2024, The Colorado Ethiopian Community showcased its commitment to advancing digital equity. The primary focus of these gatherings was to introduce and seek public input on the State of Colorado's Digital Access Plan. This visionary plan outlines strategies to provide devices, digital skills training, and connectivity to the people in Colorado who need it the most.

One significant observation from the community was the lack of awareness about digital threats like phishing, computer viruses, and identity theft.

Defining Digital Equity:

Digital equity is the cornerstone of a thriving, inclusive society where every individual possesses internet access, devices, and digital skills to participate fully in both societal and economic activities. Despite the progress, there are still segments of Colorado's population facing barriers to online job applications, remote work, telehealth appointments, online courses, and even connecting with loved ones through video chat.


The Digital Access Plan:

Colorado's Digital Equity Team has been diligently working over the past year to engage with Coloradans and craft the state's inaugural Digital Access Plan. This comprehensive document outlines how the state intends to bridge the digital divide by providing essential resources and skills to those who need them the most.

Shedding light on the unique challenges faced by the community, this collaboration contributes valuable insights to the Digital Access Plan.

Empowering the Colorado Ethiopian Community:

As part of the broader effort to gather diverse perspectives during the public comment period, the Digital Equity Team has collaborated with community-based organizations, including The Colorado Ethiopian Community. This partnership aims to ensure that the unique challenges faced by specific communities, particularly young and elderly Ethiopian immigrants, are considered in the formulation of the Digital Access Plan.


Challenges Faced by the Community:

The young and elderly Ethiopian immigrants often encounter hurdles in navigating the digital landscape. Many are unfamiliar with concepts such as cybersecurity and are uncomfortable using advanced technologies like iPhone Face ID or fingerprint recognition. Trust issues, language barriers, and the frustration of dealing with automated customer service further compound the challenges.

Shedding light on the unique challenges faced by the community, this collaboration contributes valuable insights to the Digital Access Plan.

Addressing Digital Literacy Gaps:

Digital equity is the cornerstone of a thriving, inclusive society where every individual possesses internet access, devices, and digital skills to participate fully in both societal and economic activities. Despite the progress, there are still segments of Colorado's population facing barriers to online job applications, remote work, telehealth appointments, online courses, and even connecting with loved ones through video chat.


Building Awareness on Digital Equity:

One significant observation from the community was the lack of awareness about digital threats like phishing, computer viruses, and identity theft. It emphasized the necessity for targeted awareness campaigns, especially within immigrant communities, to equip them with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves in the digital age.


Conclusion

The Colorado Ethiopian Community's involvement in hosting in-person sessions as part of the public comment period is a testament to its dedication to digital inclusivity. By shedding light on the unique challenges faced by the community, this collaboration contributes valuable insights to the Digital Access Plan. It underscores the importance of not only providing access but also fostering digital literacy and awareness, ensuring that no one is left behind in the journey towards a digitally equitable Colorado.


I hope you will join us! For more information on the Colorado Digital Access Plan, please visithttps://cdle.colorado.gov/digital-access  


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