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What does Digital Inclusion Week mean to me?

Author Dana Rin at Seattle IT's information table for digital equity opportunities during the City's Big Day of Play in August 2023.

October 2-6 marks Digital Inclusion Week, a dedicated week to ensure that technology is not only a privilege but a fundamental right accessible to all. For me, Digital Inclusion Week symbolizes a collective effort to bridge the digital divide and ensure that no one is left behind in this ever-evolving world of technology. The idea resonates with me due to its mission of promoting accessibility and inclusivity.

Growing up within a family that lacked access to technology made me realize the significant impact it had on people’s lives as I navigated the various stages of my development. This early exposure and realization of the digital divide enabled me to appreciate its positive impact on me as I grew older, which inspired me to pursue a career related to technology. This ultimately led to my degree in Informatics – a field that thrives at the intersection of people, information, and technology.

Being part of the University of Washington’s iSchool has been a pivotal chapter in my life as it’s taught me that technology is not just about creating and launching software applications; it’s about empowering individuals to participate fully. It’s about fostering an equitable environment that breaks down barriers, ensuring everyone has access to the resources they need to thrive, and bridging the digital divide.

Now, with the City of Seattle’s Digital Equity team, I’ve learned that digital inclusion is not just a one-time effort or weeklong observance but an ongoing mission that requires a deep understanding of the needs of our communities in which I’m dedicated to ensuring that it remains a central part of my journey.

The City of Seattle’s Information Technology Department (Seattle IT) oversees the City’s Digital Equity Program. To learn more about Digital Equity Programs, including the Technology Matching Fund Grant program, reduced-cost internet opportunities, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and other programs, visit Seattle IT is a trusted partner that provides secure, reliable, and compliant technologies, enabling the City to deliver equitable and responsive services to the public.

Dana Rin is an Administrative Specialist for the Digital Equity team at Seattle IT. In her role, she oversees Seattle IT’s Digital Navigator Cohort, which is made up of five community-based organizations and supports outreach efforts for the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Dana’s journey with digital equity began as an intern during her senior year at the University of Washington. It continued upon graduating and transitioning into her current position as an Administrative Specialist. Her favorite part about being in this role is learning about different organizations and building relationships with digital navigators who are a part of them.