As has been identified by the Rochester Black Agenda Group, the digital divide in Rochester has been exacerbated by the current pandemic:
“The Rochester community has systematically failed to effectively respond to the needs of the Black community, which has exacerbated the negative effects of the digital divide in the face of the current Covid-19 pandemic. The implications are disproportionately experienced across multiple contexts including healthcare, education, social life, government, and the workforce—afflicting the entire lifespan. Key challenges include technology access for education, work, and play; human social connection; and access to vital government, health, and social services. National and state policies such as “New York on Pause” and social distancing promote feelings of loneliness, anxiety, depression. If necessary, progressive actions are not taken in haste, we (members of the Black Agenda Group) fear dire consequences such as self-harm, interpersonal conflict, and even deaths will increase.”
As the data in this report will demonstrate, the digital divide similarly has disproportionate impact on Rochester’s Hispanic/Latino communities. This report was originally written to inform immediate responses to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. It has been updated to reflect work that has been done to further close the divide. Information has also been added to inform long-term systemic changes to bridge the digital divide in substantial and sustainable ways.