Connecting California: Solving the Digital Divide
Race and Digital Inequity:
The Impact on Poor Communities of Color
Thursday, September 23, 2021 | 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. PST
Watch the recording.

Digital inequity continues to perpetuate intergenerational poverty among poor communities of color by disenfranchising them, limiting their access to health care and education, and stifling economic opportunity and growth. Black and Latino students are 30% to 40% more likely to have limited access to the internet, while 68% of Americans living on rural tribal lands don’t have access to broadband.

Join the Michelson 20MM Foundation and our partners the California Community Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Southern California Grantmakers for our next Connecting California event, “Race and Digital Inequity: The Impact on Poor Communities of Color.” The program will feature extraordinary digital equity leaders who will explore the intersectionality of the digital divide and the racism entrenched in this issue.

Speakers include: 

Los Angeles County, 2nd District
Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell was elected to serve the Second District of Los Angeles County in November 2020. Having authored and passed over 90 laws in the California Legislature, Supervisor Mitchell brings an extensive public policy record to the Board of Supervisors. Many of her bills have been at the forefront of expanding healthcare access, addressing systemic racism, and championing criminal justice reform. During her tenure in the California State Legislature, she represented the 54th District for three years as an Assemblymember and later served seven years as State Senator for the 30th District. As State Senator, she held the distinction of being the first African-American to serve as Chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. Prior to serving in elected office, Supervisor Mitchell was CEO of Crystal Stairs, one of California’s largest nonprofits dedicated to child and family development.

Associate Professor, USC Annenberg School for Communication
Dr. Hernan Galperin is associate professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. An internationally recognized expert on internet policy and digital inequality, his research uses surveys, field experiments, and other quantitative methods to understand the determinants of broadband adoption and use, and how these are linked to the mechanisms of social stratification.


Economic and Digital Inclusion Program Manager, City of Long Beach
Rebecca Kauma is currently the Economic and Digital Inclusion Program Manager at The City of Long Beach. In this role, she is leading the city’s economic and digital Inclusion initiatives to ensure that low-income communities and communities of color in Long Beach have the opportunities, resources and power they need to thrive economically. Rebecca strives to uplift and empower communities most in need through equitable, inclusive and culturally competent programs, practices, policies, and systems change efforts. She is the recipient of the 2020 Digital Equity Champion Award presented by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA). Rebecca has a master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA) with an emphasis on healthcare policy from the American University School of Public Affairs. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Administration (BSHA) from California State University, Northridge.

Executive Director, American Indian Policy Institute, Arizona State University
As a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, Dr. Traci Morris is an expert in federal Indian policy, telecommunications, and digital culture. Morris has worked with Native American nations, Tribal businesses, Native American nonprofits and has advocated for digital inclusion at the Federal Communications Commission and on Capitol Hill. Morris is the executive director of the American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI). Under her leadership, the AIPI has grown and diversified its service to Indian Country providing policy analysis, tribally driven research, and economic development capacity building, and working with such Indian Country partners as NAFOA, AISES and the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative. 

Moderated by: DEANNE CUELLAR
Texas State Program Director, Older Adults Technology Services (OATS)

DeAnne Cuellar brings over a decade of experience in tech equity planning, strategy formation, and community organizing to her role leading Senior Planet San Antonio. She currently serves as the founding state director for OATS from AARP in Texas, leveraging her policy and advocacy relationships to initiate the most extensive digital inclusion program for seniors in the state’s history. Her coalition-building has brought an array of resources to her community to reduce and eliminate historical, institutional, and structural barriers to internet use in South Texas. DeAnne is a proud alum of Rockwood Leadership Institutes’s fellowship for Media, Communications, and Information Policy.

Special Thanks to Our Foundation Partners

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If you missed our Connecting California events, you can find the recordings on our #ConnectingCA YouTube playlist.

Michelson 20MM was founded thanks to the generous support of renowned spinal surgeon and inventor Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson. The Michelson 20MM Foundation is dedicated to supporting and investing in leading organizations, technologies, and initiatives that seek to transform learning and improve access to educational opportunities that lead to a meaningful career. Learn more at