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Google Fiber is excited to support Libraries Without Borders’ latest Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI) in San Antonio, along with the San Antonio Public Library and BiblioTech. Today, Lisa Alvarenga, San Antonio Project Coordinator for Libraries Without Borders, shares how WALI works and what her work means to her and the larger community.


Trips to the laundromat with mom were a weekly staple of my childhood. I absolutely hated it. We’d spend maybe two hours there but, as any kid knows, two hours can seem like an eternity. I’d enviously watch the more rambunctious kids ride around in the carts, wishing that were me. My mother could see me eyeballing the carts and she’d quickly tell me “Ni se atreve! (Don’t you dare!).” I spent hours getting dizzy as I watched the washers spin round and round, flashes of color blurred together.


When I first heard of Libraries Without Borders’ Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI)  I thought, “Whoa! That’s such a good idea!.” WALI aims to bridge the digital divide by bringing technology and library programming to laundromats. Some stuff just makes sense. Peanut butter and jelly. Cereal and milk. Laundromats and community resources. WALI meets the community where they are and acts as a facilitator to community resources already available. 


As the San Antonio Project Coordinator for WALI, I am tasked with the duty of building partnerships and bringing them to the laundromat. I started my new role by conducting interest surveys at the laundromats. What did community members want to see in the laundromat? Did they want to learn about digital literacy? How to improve their health? How to do their taxes? Their answers served as my guide for programming and partners to bring in to the laundromat. I became a regular fixture in the laundromat and the customers started recognizing me.


Before I knew it, we were installing the technology into the laundromat — a Chromebook and two tablets for the customers to use while they are waiting for their clothes. In September, we ran on our first programming session, a children’s storytime. It was quiet but caught the attention of customers. And, today, we are officially launching our programming schedule with our anchor partners, Google Fiber, San Antonio Public Library and Bexar County BiblioTech, with more partners to come.


The impact of WALI hit me at a literacy programming session just a few days ago. A local librarian read to one of the kids at the laundromat while his brother, curious but shy, hid under a table and listened in. I watched them during story time and thought about how that could have been me. The day before, at our Culebra site, I helped a woman log in to a website that would help her learn English, and couldn’t help but think of my mom. 


These opportunities are universal. WALI is about giving people what they need in an unexpected but necessary place. Libraries Without Borders means we go where people are, so you’ll find me at the laundromat.






Posted by Lisa Alvarenga, San Antonio Project Coordinator, Libraries Without Borders



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We’re closing out our Digital Inclusion Week series with a post from Raleigh, NC. Habib Khadri, a sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill in Computer Science and Business Administration, is an alum of the City of Raleigh’s Digital Connector program, sponsored by Google Fiber, which provides 14-18 year olds with technology and leadership training.

Being a leader isn’t reserved for individuals who are already placed in positions of authority, but rather invites individuals who possess determination, initiative, and a proactive mindset to step up and take charge. I have held numerous positions in clubs, organizations, and at work, but I cannot say I was a leader solely due to the title I was given. There are a multitude of initiatives where I was simply just a member, but can recall exact moments where I felt I exemplified what it means to be a leader.

Moving to Raleigh allowed me to participate in Raleigh Digital Connectors, a program for teenagers from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the technology industry. With support from Google Fiber, Digital Connectors offered leadership development aligned with community-based service projects. The program was close to my high school but the drastic difference in neighborhoods showed me the wealth gap that exists in Raleigh. The program’s classes were held in a low socioeconomic area where parents feared to drop off their children. My background coupled with my analytical nature allowed me to construct and present ideas to “bridge the divide” between socioeconomic classes within Raleigh. I was in the program for two years only to be invited back to be an instructor and later on, the speaker for two years in a row at the annual commencement ceremony.

Raleigh Digital Connectors has an annual program called “The Oak City Techathon” which enabled me to become an instructor within my community. Whether it was creating a Facebook account for senior citizens and allowing them to connect with long lost friends or teaching young kids how to assemble basic robots, I was able to spark a newfound interest in a multitude of groups scattered across the city of Raleigh. I knew these people would learn and then be inspired to teach what they learn to their peers. 

I want to work toward eliminating the wealth gap and bring communities together so everyone has access to resources that are only available in the affluent areas. I think a step toward equity between these communities is to promote programs such as Raleigh Digital Connectors. I feel it is my experiences that enable me to be a global leader. Being a leader doesn’t mean just sitting back and delegating tasks, but involves hands-on experience and the ambition to want to better your community, whether it be local or global. I learned that even when you feel insignificant, everybody has to start somewhere.

Posted by Habib Khadri, UNC-Chapel Hill student and Raleigh Digital Connectors alum



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Our Digital Inclusion Week guest blog series continues with Anthony Rea of the Mattie Rhodes Center, which has been serving the community in Kansas City for 125 years.

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I should preface that this story is really about digital inclusion, but I just wanted to give a little context to the how and why we do what we do with young people and the leadership they offer us when we give them space to learn and question.

I used to instruct digital photography in the Pilsen community of Chicago between 2009 and 2013. It was a community going through drastic changes with gentrification and new developments transforming the landscape of the neighborhood. My group of young people tasked ourselves with the job of documenting the people and spaces that made up their community – actively responding to their transforming environment and personal histories. It was an exciting time for all of us – the work was beautiful but more importantly, it communicated something important, and our young people were the ones leading that communication through their art-making.

Fast forward to a little over a year ago -- I’m in Kansas City’s historic Northeast community working with Mattie Rhodes Center watching our after school instructors work on a stop-motion animation with students using the instructors' phones and makeshift tripods. I’m sitting there thinking how these young people needed the right tools – how we needed a photo/video program. So I start to draft up a program (and a budget) that would put tablets in the hands of our young people, we would produce imagery and audio projects that told their stories and stories of their community – they would respond to the issues that impacted them the most, so ultimately these amazing young people could build skills around social media, representation, communication, and image-making. After personally shopping the proposal around to a few funders my boss said there was a Google Fiber representative that wanted to know what plans we had regarding technology and digital inclusion. I handed her my proposal, and we were off!

Now, fast-forward several months and our Digital Media Lab, sponsored by Google FIber, has been working with students at our Northeast Mattie Rhodes Center location since Spring 2019. Students have explored self-portraiture and representation explicating who they are and where they hope to be in life. More importantly, they have been learning to use this tablet – this iPad as an actual place of artistic production. Expanding on the consuming function that many of us might consider, our youth are learning more about this device, the various available apps that they can access to create and share their creative and visual ideas, and how to responsibly share through social media.

We have also started to engage community members through a Community Photo Booth that we created. Our setup is a simple one, with iPads and tripods. Many of our students talked about their families not having “professional” family portraits. That discussion quickly took us into saying, “Why can’t we be our own professionals?” So we looked at portraiture and imagery that we appreciated and held our first public event last May. The photo booth created an opportunity for our students to be the “professional” photographers in the neighborhood for their families and community. They manage the process, have forms and use Flickr as a way to share the photos with our participants. 

We are now building the photo booth idea into our Digital Media Lab so that more students can go through the steps and will eventually build videography skills. The goal is to transform our students into a mobile portrait and video team taking family portraits in the area and collecting narratives from our Northeast Kansas City residents. 

By providing space to learn how to use the tools, our students have the opportunity to do something really exciting with technology. They are moving beyond just being passive consumers of imagery but actual producers of it -- taking control of not just their imagery and representation, but even how their immediate friends and family and ultimately their community is seen. Digital inclusion isn’t just about the technology, it’s about the connection, and that’s what these kids are doing every day.

Posted by Anthony Marcos Rea, Youth Development Coordinator, Digital Media Lab at the Mattie Rhodes Center.



Top photo caption: clockwise from upper left corner 1. Hailie Freeman, Lincoln Middle School; 2. Perla Ramos, Frontier Middle School; 3. Emma Courtice, Lincoln Middle School; 4. Diego Montes, Frontier Middle School; 5. Darianna Marquez, Lincoln College Prep HS; 6. Dominic Ramos, Frontier Middle School. From "Selfies & the Portrait," Spring 2019 and "Layering the Self Portrait using PhotoshopMix," Fall 2019.

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In celebration of Digital Inclusion Week, we’re featuring posts from our incredible partners across the country who are working to broaden Internet access and build digital literacy in our Google Fiber Cities. Today’s blog comes from Community Tech Network’s Director of Programs, Jessica Looney, in Austin, Texas.

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The Internet is essential to so many aspects of our lives today and it is critical that everyone, regardless of income, education level or age, has the access and the digital skills they need. Yet today, many people still do not have access to digital tools like the Internet, computers, or the skills to utilize them. Even in a tech-forward city like Austin, Texas, there are roughly 55,000 households without a broadband internet connection. 

This is why the Community Tech Network (CTN) and Google Fiber partner to bridge that divide here in Austin. CTN’s mission is to transform lives through digital literacy and has over 11 years of experience helping people cross the digital divide. 

Having been a presence in Austin for over two years now, CTN is pleased to be a part of Austin’s vibrant digital community and excited to work with partners such as Google Fiber, City of Austin and Austin Independent School District (AISD). CTN recently collaborated with the City’s Innovation Team to develop a Digital Device Drop-in program for People Experiencing Homelessness (PEH). Each week CTN volunteers attend a shift at the Terrazas branch of the Austin Public Library and provide drop-in help to anyone with questions about their device, Smartphones, using email, social media, and more. 

CTN also works with AISD to meet the needs of low-income parents seeking digital literacy training on specific AISD digital platforms. With the support of Google Fiber, and in partnership with another local non-profit, Latinitas, the Digital Parents Program will provide basic digital skills, in both English and Spanish, to parents to help them participate in their child’s education and communicate more effectively with the teachers and school. CTN plans to serve 25-30 parents at Martin Junior High School as part of a pilot. If successful, CTN hopes to engage parents in four additional schools to reach hundreds of families. 

To celebrate this year’s Digital Inclusion Week, CTN is hosting Tech Teach-In (TTI) events focused on providing digital skills training to adults and seniors. One of these events will connect Google Fiber volunteers to residents at Wildflower Terrace, a Family Eldercare senior housing community. Tech Teach-Ins are half day events that engage corporate volunteers who deliver digital skills training. Volunteers help job seekers apply for employment, parents reach their children’s teachers, older adults research healthcare information and low-income residents access social services. Over the last year, CTN has conducted six TTI events serving over 100 low-income senior residents in the Austin area.

We’re very proud to continue to partner with Google Fiber as CTN continues the ongoing mission to unite organizations and volunteers to transform lives through digital literacy. If you are interested in becoming a partner, contact Kami Griffiths, Executive Director/Co-founder at kami@communitytechnetwork.org. If you are interested in volunteering with CTN, please email volunteer@communitytechnetwork.org

Posted by Jessica Looney, Director of Programs, Community Tech Network, Austin, TX








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Our Digital Inclusion Week series kicks off with Shauna Edson of the Salt Lake City Public Library. Shauna is a former Google Fiber-sponsored NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellow. She now serves as the Library’s Digital Inclusion Coordinator and is a Fellow with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA). 

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I first became aware of digital inclusion work when I was working on my undergraduate classes at the University of Utah. I didn’t have an internet connection in my apartment or a smartphone, and I quickly learned how much that complicated my education. To turn in assignments, access readings, and do everything else students need to do online I had to go to a public computer lab. I was also a single parent at the time, and that meant I either had to pay for childcare or bring my tweens with me to the computer lab, pay for parking, and try to fit going to the lab in between my classes and the three part-time jobs I was juggling. I don’t know if you have any experience studying while trying to keep your kids entertained in a public space, but it didn’t work out well for me. 

Once I became aware of how digital inequities were impacting my own life, I began to notice the effect it had on others as well. Everyday tasks are moving to digital spaces, and having access to broadband, innovative technologies, and the knowledge to know how to use it in a meaningful way is essential to fully participating in society. Today, the Internet is used for so much of our daily lives: online banking and managing finances; accessing health records and remote doctor visits; gaining employment, workforce development, and economic growth; education; entertainment; socializing with family and friends; and more. 

Digital equity is when everyone can easily access and use technologies to communicate, learn, work, and play. All individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, civic engagement, economy, and access to essential services. Digital inclusion is the work we need to do to achieve digital equity, and it must evolve as technology advances. Digital equity impacts all of those in communities, and it takes a whole community working together to address digital divides. Google Fiber is an active partner in this work in Utah. 

In January of 2018, Utah Communities Connect: Utah’s Digital Alliance held their first meeting. It started when Salt Lake City was selected as a ConnectHomeUSA community in 2017, and several organizations worked together on a kick-off event. The event garnered interest in digital inclusion in Utah and local governments, libraries, housing authorities, academics, nonprofit organizations, and private industry stakeholders, including Google Fiber, formed the alliance. 

Almost two years later, we are happy to host the inaugural Utah Digital Summit as part of NDIA’s  Digital Inclusion Week and with Google Fiber as a supporter. Utah Digital Summit is a collaboration between Utah Communities Connect and the Utah Broadband Association as part of the ongoing effort to bring community partners together to raise awareness and build the "digital equity movement" in Utah. Digital equity is a long term effort that will take continued collaboration by a broad cross-section of stakeholders. This week's summit is a great step forward on that journey.


Posted by Shauna Edson, Digital Inclusion Coordinator, Salt Lake City Public Library.




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Today marks the beginning of Digital Inclusion Week -- a week where Google Fiber joins a collective effort to highlight organizations providing computer training, affordable devices and Internet access to people on the wrong side of the digital divide.


In 2019, getting a job, an educational degree, or even the latest bus schedule can depend on your access to the Internet and how good you are at navigating the online world once you are there. The division between the digital “haves” and “have nots” will only grow wider without the intervention of organizations dedicated to building residents’ digital skills and access.  


Google Fiber partners closely with digital inclusion organizations nationally and in each of the cities where we operate. In fact, we couldn’t do our jobs without them. It’s why we support national programs like NTEN’s Digital Inclusion Fellowship -- a program Google Fiber co-founded in 2015 and that is now in its fifth cohort -- and resources like the National Digital Inclusion Alliance’s Digital Inclusion Start-Up Manual.


It’s also why we have signed on as a supporter of the the Digital Equity Act of 2019. In the U.S., digital inclusion programs have traditionally been developed locally and funded locally. The Digital Equity Act aims to change that by authorizing over $1 billion in federal funding over five years to support state and local plans and programs. We believe this bill will generate a much needed set of state strategies and a more stable source of funding to support the organizations providing training to residents in cities across the U.S. You can help! Write to your Senator and Congressperson and tell them to vote to support the Digital Equity Act.


And check back here on the Google Fiber blog every day this week to meet some of the dedicated people and digital inclusion groups we’re working with across the country to hear firsthand about what’s happening in their communities. We are privileged to work alongside them, and to help in their important work.


Posted by John Burchett, Director, Communications, Policy, & Community Affairs, and Parisa Fatehi - Weeks, Head of Equity, Inclusion & Community Impact

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It’s National Nonprofit Day! To mark the occasion, we’re excited to have a post from Jeff Hilimire, founder of 48in48, one of our nonprofit partners dedicated to helping other nonprofits make the most of their online presence. Jeff is also CEO of Atlanta-based Dragon Army.



“How do I find a way for my team members to use their skills in digital marketing to help nonprofits in Atlanta?” 


That was the question I kept asking myself as my first digital agency, Spunlogic, grew to almost 100 employees in the mid-2000s. In those days, we would volunteer every quarter at local nonprofits like soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and food drives — but we weren’t giving back with our greatest strengths, our digital skills, which allowed us to help our paying clients build brands and connect with their customers. 


I wrestled with this question for almost a decade, understanding that in today’s landscape the ability for a nonprofit to connect with donors, volunteers, and team members through digital channels would be paramount to their success. 


Then it hit me:“What if I put on a hackathon that brought together 150 volunteers to build as many nonprofit websites as possible in a single weekend?” 


The idea for 48in48 was born. In 2015, I asked my good friend, Adam Walker, to co-found this new organization with me and we hosted our first event later that year in Atlanta. The idea was to build 48 new websites in 48 hours, pairing great digital talent with nonprofits doing essential work in our communities. That event was so well received that we decided to host a spring event in New York, followed by our second Atlanta event later in the fall of 2016. When both of those events went exceptionally well, we knew we were on to something.


In 2017, we hosted events in Atlanta, New York, Boston, and Minneapolis. And then in 2018, we put on events in six cities: Atlanta, New York, Boston, Chapel Hill (NC), Bloomington (IL), and our first international event in London!


Today, we’ve organized 14 events, helped more than 650 nonprofits, and registered 2,000+ volunteers — and we’re just getting started! 


We haven’t done this alone. Google Fiber has been a sponsor since our first year, and we’ve worked with them in a number of capacities. From serving on our board to bringing their talents to help our nonprofit clients optimize their online presence, our relationship with Google Fiber has allowed us to increase our impact. We’ve used key partnerships like this with other brands too, like Delta Air Lines and State Farm, to help us continue to scale. Without their support, we wouldn’t have been able to dream so big.


"We had a record number of users come to our application this year, which we credit to the ease of access and information on our website. Our online presence finally matches who we are as an organization – forward thinking, efficient, sharp, and in constant pursuit of
excellence. This shift moves us onto a new level for how we talk to the public, and our donors love it! We owe so much of that to the team at 48in48 for giving us an incredible website template,” said Jeannette Rankin, founder of the Women’s Scholarship Fund.


Our goal is to create a service opportunity where 10,000 marketing and technology volunteers can donate their skills for good on an annual basis. We’d love your help in this mission! Find out how you can get involved today at 48in48.org.


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At an Atlanta 48in48 hackathon, volunteers work with nonprofit leaders to develop the right digital approach. 


Posted by Jeff Hilimire, founder, 48in48, and CEO of Dragon Army

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Earlier this month, my teammates and I attended the 2019 Net Inclusion conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. As the Government and Community Affairs team (formerly known as the “Community Impact Team”) for Google Fiber, we are responsible for building and investing in partnerships that help narrow the digital divide across the Google Fiber footprint.

The gathering, organized by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), provided a valuable opportunity to listen and learn from digital inclusion leaders on the front lines of improving their respective communities. We also had the chance to see the progress of the broader digital inclusion movement -- a movement that is bigger than any one program, strategy or organization. 

As a Google Fiber city and home to several leading digital inclusion organizations, the City of Charlotte offered many learning opportunities for those interested in starting, improving or expanding digital inclusion programming for residents. Many of these learnings are captured in the recently published Digital Inclusion Start-Up Manual, which was authored by NDIA and sponsored by Google Fiber. The manual includes recommendations for developing a community digital inclusion program, among other resources.     

Throughout the conference, dozens of digital inclusion leaders took part in lightning round sessions featuring innovative programs from across the country. From leveraging technology to expand educational opportunities across the world to the development of low cost digital literacy evaluation tools, our team was inspired by these innovative approaches from community-based practitioners. In fact, it was during the lightning rounds of last year’s conference that we first discovered Libraries Without Borders’ Wash and Learn Initiative. Since then, we have kicked off a partnership with Libraries Without Borders to pilot their program in San Antonio. 

We were also excited to see the announcement of the 2019 Charles Benton Digital Equity Champions. Honorees included Casey Sorensen, CEO of Minnesota-based PCs for People, and Munirih Jester, Digital Inclusion Program Manager for the San Antonio Housing Authority. Munirih began her role as one of the very first NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellows, a program Google Fiber co-founded with NTEN in 2015 and that is now in its fifth cohort. These champions manage programs aimed at reducing the digital divide within their respective communities. 

Many thanks to the NDIA team for organizing another successful event, the Charlotte Google Fiber team for hosting a fun-filled reception, and local digital inclusion leaders for opening your doors to Net Inclusion visitors. 

We know the digital divide remains a persistent challenge — and that none of us can solve it alone. Google Fiber has learned a lot about digital inclusion each year since our launch in 2012; and the conference made clear that the digital inclusion ecosystem continues to grow and get stronger. We continue to learn from leaders across the country working hard to get more of their neighbors connected, and we look forward to chipping away at the divide right alongside them.


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Munirih Jester, Digital Inclusion Program Manager at the San Antonio Housing Authority, receives the 2019Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion award from Adrianne Furniss, Executive Director of the Benton Foundation


Posted by Clarissa Ramon, Government and Community Affairs Manager, San Antonio


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“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?’” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

I think about these words often in my work, especially around this time of year. The notion of “doing for others” - particularly those in less advantageous positions - is what drove me to become a community organizer and has stayed with me throughout my career.

Growing up in South Texas, I felt the effect of the digital divide first hand, and the huge impact that something as simple as Internet access can have on a family. It wasn’t until I was almost a senior in high school that my family finally got an Internet connection at home. That connection (on an old computer, over a dial-up modem) is what allowed me to research and apply to colleges and scholarships, and ultimately is the reason I was able to obtain my bachelor’s and master’s degrees — both “firsts” for my family. But it would not be a “last,” as all four of my younger brothers would go on to college, as well as my mother who pursued her degree later in life, taking courses online!

Even now, as a Community Impact Manager at Google Fiber, I ask myself this question every day: what am I doing to help people impacted by the digital divide? The idea of giving people access to opportunity has been a piece of Google Fiber’s mission since the beginning — we believe in the power of the Internet to empower people and their communities.

That’s why today we’re excited to announce the newest cohort of Digital Inclusion Fellows. Four years ago, Google Fiber cofounded this program with NTEN to grow the community of digital literacy leaders, advocates and practitioners across the country. Fellows work with their nonprofit host organizations to provide programming to their communities aimed at building technology skills and growing access.

We can’t wait to see what our 2019 Digital Inclusion Fellows do in each of their cities:
  • Austin, TX - Gabryella Desporte, Latinitas
  • Charlotte, NC - Kyra Gomez, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool
  • Carrboro/Raleigh-Durham, NC - Samuel Maldonado, Orange County Literacy Council
  • Salt Lake City, UT - Krysti Nellermoe, International Rescue Committee
  • San Antonio, TX - Emily Flores, San Antonio Public Library
You can find more information on all the 2019 fellows here

As a former Digital Inclusion Fellow, I can tell you that this program is more critical than ever. In my time as a Fellow here in Texas, I worked with Austin Free-Net to connect Austin’s underserved communities with digital resources and skills. We raised awareness by creating Austin’s first Digital Inclusion Day, we held the city’s first Digital Resource Fair and we strengthened the organization’s volunteer trainer program. But most importantly, I got to build a professional network of amazing people who were working on the same challenges across the country, day in and day out.

We’re incredibly proud not only of the work we’ve done through this program -- we’ve provided nearly 73,000 hours of training for more than 16,000 unique participants across all our Google Fiber markets over the past four  years-- but also of the Fellows and program alumni, many of whom are now leading digital equity work in their communities and nationally.


We look forward to seeing this new cohort of Fellows in action and what good they "do for others" in their communities.

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Daniel at work as a Digital Inclusion Fellow

Posted by Daniel Lucio, Austin Community Impact Manager and Digital Inclusion Fellow Alum

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We’re excited to have author Varian Johnson (The Parker Inheritance) guest blogging today. We’ll be hosting Mr. Johnson in our Austin Fiber Space on October 20th, and live streaming the event to Fiber Spaces around the country. You can find more information about those events at the links at the bottom of this post. Google Fiber believes in the power of books to connect us to new ideas and places, and we’re honored to help the next generation of readers find new ways to dive into books.


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I’m author Varian Johnson. When I first began writing The Parker Inheritance, I thought I was writing a simple, fun puzzle mystery—a novel where a reader could follow along and solve the mystery along with the characters in the book. I am a huge fan of The Westing Game, the award-winning masterpiece by Ellen Raskin, and I especially loved how Raskin put all the clues into the book—right there near the beginning—so I could get in on the action and use my amateur sleuthing skills alongside Turtle, Theo, Chris, Doug and the other characters. However, as I re-read the novel, I realized that The Westing Game was so much more than a simple puzzle mystery. The book was filled with dynamic characters who grew and changed—characters trying to figure out who they were and who they wanted to be. The Westing Game was more than a simple puzzle mystery. Could my book carry that same weight?

That’s when I went back to another novel idea that had been sitting on my hard drive for a while. It was a multi-generational story about a black family and how they were shaped over time—from the 1950s to today. It explored the impacts of racism and how people saw African Americans through an unfair and biased lens. It also explored how people of color in this country were often forced to give up or hide their true selves in order to be successful, safe, and free.

At first glance, the two novel ideas didn’t fit together at all. But similar to a real puzzle, as I began to rotate, shift, and flip the different pieces of each storyline, a new, better image took shape. I was creating a mystery that was fun and exciting, while also creating a drama that asked us to explore this country’s legacy of institutional racism and its effect on young, black people. 

The writing took a lot longer than I’d originally planned, but once all the pieces fell into place, I had the story I was looking for. I’m so proud of The Parker Inheritance—how it encourages us to think and ask questions. But I’m also just as proud of how fun it is—how readers are allowed to lose themselves in mystery. I hope you check out the novel for yourself—whether for the drama or the mystery. And if I’m lucky—maybe you’ll end up liking it for both.

For information on joining us at one of the events in your town, check out the links below:
Posted by Varian Johnson, Author, The Parker Inheritance.



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The goal of the Google Fiber Blog is to keep you updated on what’s happening and give you a look at how our customers are using Google Fiber.  From time to time, we ask our partners to tell us in their words what connection means to them.  Today, we’re excited to host Averie Phimmarah from Charlotte to tell us more about Digi-Bridge’s Daddy Daughter Code In and her experience there. 

My name is Averie Phimmarah. I’m in the 4th grade and I love my family! I have one older sister and one older brother. The Daddy Daughter Code-In on June 2nd will be the 4th Code-In I’ve been in with Digi-Bridge and Google Fiber. 

I don’t always get to spend a lot of time with my Dad so the Code-Ins are a great way for me and my sister to have him all to ourselves. I love when he helps us work through the Code-In activities. I feel like an engineer working through each challenge. My favorite Code-In activity was taking vinegar, food coloring and baking soda to make bubble bombs! Every Code-In has different activities and the parts that are the most fun are getting to try new things with my Dad’s help and the cotton candy. Even if I don’t get the activity to work like I want it to, it is still fun because I am with my family and friends. 

When I grow up I want to work on electronics and be a construction worker. I go to the Code-Ins because I get to practice those things now. I think all girls should go to the Daddy Daughter Code-In so they can feel what it’s like to be an engineer and problem solver AND you get all the cotton candy you can eat.

If you want to sign up for the June 2nd Daddy Daughter Code-In at our Uptown Charlotte Fiber Space, please sign up here. If you are interested in similar programming, check out CS First, Made with Code, or Be Internet Awesome. 



Posted by Averie Phimmarah, Charlotte, NC, 4th grader


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This year we kicked off Digital Inclusion Week by publishing our 2017 Community Impact Report but that was just the beginning of Google Fiber’s involvement in this national initiative. Across the country, each of our Fiber cities found ways to support digital literacy trainings and connect more people to super fast Internet.

Seeing the rich stories of communities coming together to work on digital equity during Digital Inclusion Week, and the large scale of participants across the country, gives me great optimism about the future of our work and a bit of personal pride. In 2016, when I was working as a Digital Inclusion Fellow -- a program co-founded and supported by Google Fiber and managed by the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) -- I worked alongside local and national partners like the National Digital Inclusion Alliance to organize the country’s first Digital Inclusion Day. Now, just a couple of years later, I’m a Community Impact Manager at Google Fiber and the day has grown into a full week of activities across dozens of U.S. cities.

Working with local partners, my fellow Google Fiber Community Impact Managers and I have taken action to mark #DIW2018 across the country:
  • In Austin, we partnered with the Community Tech Network to teach seniors basic digital literacy skills. 
  • In Charlotte, we announced a new Community Connection at The Nest Learning Lab at CAMP North End, as well as partnering with E2D on their annual “E-lemonade the digital divide” event.
  • In Louisville, we launched a Community Connection at the new entrepreneurial incubator at Love City, Inc. in the Portland neighborhood.
  • In Provo, we had a full week of #ProvoGotSkills activities with partners like the United Way of Utah County, Mountainland Head Start, the Provo City Library, and the Provo City School District.
  • In Salt Lake City, we hosted Google Expeditions at Riley Elementary and supported workshops hosted by Salt Lake City and County public library branches.
  • In San Antonio, we sponsored UpgradeSA’s lunchtime discussion about closing the city’s digital divide.
Check out the photo gallery below of many of these activities. Thank you to all our partners who help us connect our communities!
Cutting the ribbon on our newest Community Connection at Love City in Louisville with Mayor Greg Fischer.
Charlotte, NC Mayor Vi Lyles helps residents at our new Community Connection at The Nest.

Tackling digital inclusion with UpgradeSA in San Antonio.


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Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi takes a selfie with seniors after a YouTube tutorial at the Provo Rec Center.

Posted by Daniel Lucio, Community Impact Manager - Austin

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Today is the first day of Digital Inclusion Week 2018 -- a national week of events to increase awareness and action to ensure everyone has access to the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy and economy -- sponsored by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance.




At Google Fiber, we are proud to support organizations and activities participating in #DIW2018 across the country. To kick off this important week, we are thrilled to share our 2017 Community Impact Report.




Each year, we are humbled by the groundbreaking work of our community partners across the country, and 2017 was no exception. These partners roll up their sleeves, undaunted by challenges, and improve their neighbors’ access to opportunities. They find creative ways to advance digital inclusion. They hustle to empower more students with STEM programs. They ignite innovation and entrepreneurship -- especially in under-resourced schools and neighborhoods. In short, they make their cities a better place.




We are privileged to collaborate with them, and to bring our Faster, Fairer, Kinder Internet to support their efforts. As a result of our work together in 2017:


  • 2,600 families in affordable housing can access the power of Fiber Internet in their homes at no cost via our Gigabit Communities program -- 600 new families’ homes were connected in 2017 alone.
  • Through our Community Connections program, we provided super fast Internet to 54 new public hubs like libraries and nonprofits. 
  • 5,000 students and parents engaged in our STEM programs last year, reaching new horizons through Made with Code, Create Your World, and Google Expeditions.



Check out the full report to for more details about this work and to read stories from each our Fiber cities. Let’s make the most of this week and every week to get more people connected for the good of our communities.



Posted by Parisa Fatehi-Weeks, Head of Community Impact Strategy

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Wednesday marked the end of Black History Month - and what a month it was! Google Fiber is proud to have celebrated with community partners across our Fiber cities.  We hosted over two dozen events across the country that focused on encouraging meaningful conversations, celebrating accomplishments, and giving participants an opportunity to have interactive experiences with historic places like Selma, Alabama.


Highlights:


Huntsville
Google Fiber sponsored the inaugural Because of Them, We Can event celebrating the accomplishments of African Americans from Alabama, including Angela Davis, Carl Lewis, and Condoleezza Rice” -- all Alabamians -- as well as others. It was an afternoon of music, spoken word, and powerful discussions.


Salt Lake City
Our team took Google Expeditions Cardboard VR (virtual reality) technology to students at Newman Elementary, one of our valued Title One school partners. We used the time to demonstrate how infrastructure to deliver superfast Internet is built to homes and how it helps lead to innovations like VR. We led students through a Google Expedition of Civil Rights history, where they learned about key leaders and landmarks. Their VR journey included a visit to the Lincoln Monument steps where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech; to the Supreme Court steps where the students learned about Thurgood Marshall and the Brown v. Board of Education decision; and then concluded with a visit to the Selma-to-Montgomery March museum.


Nashville
Building on the success of Marvel’s Black Panther, “afrofuturism” was the theme of the Fiber Space as Nashvillians came together for a panel discussion to define “afrofuturism,” media representation of African Americans, and what it means to be a “Black Geek.” Check out Nashville Public Radio’s coverage at: How a Black Superhero Inspired Conversations about Race and Technology in Nashville.


Austin
Google Fiber celebrated with the Carver Branch of the Austin Public Library where over 200 members of the community gathered and utilized Google Cardboard virtual reality technology to experience and learn about significant contributions of African Americans throughout history, such as the Artifacts of the Tuskegee Airmen exhibit.


Atlanta
Over 50 students from Dillard University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Xavier College came to the Google office in Atlanta for a Hackathon. The students enjoyed food and fun while they created projects in a 24-hour timespan with the help of their peers and Google engineers.  The projects spanned from fun to serious, with apps to help make reporting crimes on campus easier, interactive campus maps, and to help students find computer science tutors!
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While Google Fiber’s work to advance technology access and inclusion happens year-round, we take pride in the community and school partnerships that came together during February to celebrate Black History Month. We look forward to even more opportunities for learning and growth in 2018.

Posted by Daynise Joseph, Community Impact Manager

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