On March 18, 2021 we connected individuals from historically underrepresented communities with those who design, market and build technology products through our first Community Connections event. Five African-American and Black parents of young children in the Atlanta suburb of Stockbridge, Georgia addressed more than 100 employees of Microsoft through a virtual group panel and individual break out sessions.
Aneta Uplifts was our on-the-ground digital inclusion partner within the Atlanta area, connecting individuals from her community with the builders of technology products Americans use every day to learn, build skills, find jobs, and receive government services.
Since then we’ve had ten successful Community Connection events connecting hundreds of technologists from around the world with BIPOC seniors in rural Georgia, Hispanics in Colorado, Native Americans in Missouri and other communities across our country.
“Being able to speak truthfully was very refreshing.”
– Community Connections participant
Community Connections is one conduit buildJUSTLY has created to help technology builders identify opportunities for products and practices. This program’s broader mission includes fostering stronger connections to feel seen and heard by businesses and to ensure that they are included in the consideration of the products and services that they use everyday. Most importantly, we need to evolve the current extractive and exploitative practices of business and market research to one that is more inclusive, regenerative and mutually beneficial.
It is through the support of partners that we are able to make our Community Connection events a reality. Over the last year we’ve relied on them to help us mitigate a broad spectrum on challenges that those of us inside corporate American often take for granted such as:
- technology support and access
- cultural and language considerations
Over the last twelve months, we’ve certified the following organizations to facilitate and scale this important work:
- PCs for People, – A 501(c)(3) whose mission is to provide the opportunity for all low-income individuals and nonprofits to benefit from the life changing impact of computers and mobile internet through electronic reuse.
- WMI Worldwide – A Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) operations and consulting firm whose clients include global technology and enterprise companies.
- Aneta Uplifts – Social entrepreneur, digital inclusion specialist, and speaker with specialization in digital literacy training, digital inclusion program development, and instructional design.
- Latin American Association (LAA) – Latin American Association’s mission is to empower Latinos to adapt, integrate and thrive. Our vision is ‘Opportunity for All.’