On a Mission for Equitable Internet in Detroit


Jul 19 2021 • 29 mins

When the pandemic struck, many pivoted their lives online – to connect with family, to work, to attend school. But many others, living in cutoff communities, like several neighborhoods in the city of Detroit, Michigan, where generations of systemic racism and poor infrastructure has left them largely isolated, this wasn't an option. Up to 40% of residents in these underserved areas have no internet at all, keeping them from the online world where everything had moved. But an enterprising team of "digital stewards" is changing this reality. In this episode of Teamistry, host Gabriela Cowperthwaite tells the story of the Detroit Equitable Internet Initiative – a network of formal workers and grassroots organizations that are bringing low-cost or free high-speed internet to families, one connection at a time. Their ability to win trust from the community and strategize on the ground – even during a pandemic – has emerged as a case study on how to mobilize a network to reach people in hard-to-reach places. You'll spend a day with Changa Parker and Kirk Teasley – the digital stewards – as they install WiFi door-to-door. You'll hear from Janice Gates, Director of Equitable Internet Initiative, and you'll hear from Nick Wilson, Network Manager at North End Woodward Community Coalition, as he leads the Digital Stewards on their daily missions. You'll also hear from Norma Heath, a community organizer, for whom reliable and affordable internet is no longer a distant dream thanks to this amazing team's work.

Teamistry is an original podcast from Atlassian. For a transcript of the episode and other extras, check out www.atlassian.com/blog/podcast/on-a-mission-for-equitable-internet-in-detroit