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The Arizona-based non-profit, Chicanos Por La Causa, is making the internet more accessible. Photo: Chicanos Por La Causa
The Arizona-based non-profit, Chicanos Por La Causa, is making the internet more accessible. Photo: Chicanos Por La Causa

Chicanos Por La Causa is bridging the digital divide in Arizona

Chicanos por la causa is helping students who don’t have the resources necessary for distance learning during a pandemic.

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Chicanos Por La Causa has been championing the end for discrimination for decades. What began as an Arizona based, Mexican-American rights organization has expanded to providing equal opportunity for all people, regardless of background.

With the coronavirus pandemic, the already-present inequities that the most disenfranchised communities in our nation face daily were laid-bare for all to see. This includes the dark side of our nation’s healthcare system, the disproportionate effects on certain demographics, and now a digital divide as students are forced to resume studies virtually.

While there is an ongoing push by the Trump administration to return to school physically, many schools have opted to keep campuses closed. This decision, reports Arizona 360, creates obstacles for families that don’t have the resources to undertake distance learning. 

Many families don’t have internet access, or enough computers or laptops for all of their children. Many libraries remain closed, so even free internet access isn’t an option. 

“We can not lose another generation of our kids,” wrote David Adame, President and CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa.
 

The organization was recently featured in an Arizona PBS report on its efforts on bridging the digital divide across the Desert Southwest.

The idea was Robert Alvarado’s, the Vice President of Information Management and Technology Services at Chicanos Por La Causa. He overheard a conversation between two parents voicing concerns about students falling behind — either because they don’t have internet access at home or can’t afford it.

Alvarado came to work the next day, with an idea for a fundraiser. “We need to help,” was his initial idea.

From the fundraiser, refurbished computers were brought to families in need. The organization says there are thousands of families in just their region alone in need of this sort of help.

“There’s a lot of people out there talking about the digital divide, and having conversations around it, but what are you doing about it, right?” Alvarado said.

There’s nothing wrong with refurbished computers, Alvarado pointed out. They’re only about 30 bucks, and they work perfectly for school work and parents who need to go online for work or apply for jobs. 

“They might not be able to play video games on them,” Alvarado laughed, “But they’ll be able to get their homework done, get connected, and be able to do their research and projects.”

Chicanos Por La Causa, proved it doesn’t take much to bridge the gap. In this case, it just took an open ear, $30, and a willingness to help. 

Internet access, especially in the time of COVID-19 has solidified that it is not a luxury. The internet is a public necessity.

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