1. What are you doing towards Digital Inclusion in Charlotte?
I serve as Technology Director for Hip Hop University, a non-profit dedicated to utilizing Hip Hop culture’s influence to educate and empower the community. In my role, I draw on my background as a Software Engineer to organize educational events in a Hip Hop context for various ages with my team, as well as actively advocate for digital inclusion and diversity in technology throughout the Charlotte community. In addition to coordinating our own educational events, we regularly advise and partner with other organizations, non-profits and members of the Charlotte tech community seeking to spread a similar message to the youth and Hip Hop demographic. We believe these portions of the community would benefit tremendously from technology education and advocacy.
I’m also an organizer of SwiftCLT, a meetup providing a supportive, encouraging, and open community for Charlotteans to explore and develop their interest in the Swift programming language.
2. Why are you working towards Digital Inclusion in Charlotte?
Technology is one of the best tools in our arsenal to empower and uplift the individual, develop a workforce for modern times, and increase social mobility. I truly believe technology has the capacity to be a great equalizer used to reduce many social woes. My role includes introducing underrepresented communities to the world of technology, stripping the stigma away from it that it is too complicated to understand, and ultimately inspiring people to embrace it in a way that empowers them to make their lives easier or more productive.
Hip Hop University has deep ties with the overall hip hop community in Charlotte, which includes those that may benefit the most from learning about technology and its use in reducing social inequality.
3. What does a digitally connected community look like to you?
For me, a digitally connected community is one in which citizens are able to use technology not just as consumers, but also as creators. We must look beyond; we cannot stop at teaching everyone just the most basic digital literacy concepts. I’d also like to see many more women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and other people from underrepresented communities in the tech sector become technologists, driving diverse ideas and innovation for the future. The significance of tech to our community and humanity in general will only continue to grow as time passes, and so we must be vigilant in making sure no one is left behind in terms of technology usage, understanding, and education.