GenYES Facilitator Weekly Message

Hi GenYES Facilitators,

Fifty years ago today I was finishing up my senior year of university work in Los Angeles. Certainly 4/4/1968 is a day I remember well. I was living with four African American roommates and we were very familiar with the works of civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, and Malcolm X. When we heard the news of that Dr. King was assassinated we went from shock to sadness to anger. It did not take long for some to lash out and much of Los Angeles soon was in flames.

As angry and saddened as I was that day fifty years ago, I am perhaps angrier now to see a nation where the opportunity gap is widening between the races. We especially see this in the digital divide. King addressed this racial gap in his 1967 book Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?


"Negroes have proceeded from a premise that equality means what it says, and they have taken white Americans at their word when they talked of it as an objective. But most whites in America … proceed from a premise that equality is a loose expression for improvement. White America is not even psychologically organized to close the gap — essentially it seeks only to make it less painful and less obvious but in most respects to retain it.”

California K-12 students are 59.86% Latino or African American (2016-17 school year) and make up less than 4% of the state’s IT workforce (and this percentage is going down). The digital divide is real and is widening the wage-gap between rich and poor.

As a former sociology professor at the University of California, I naively thought that the Internet and technology could one day realize MLK’s dreams of an equitable society. So far, that is not happening. Generation YES strives to narrow the digital divide with its philosophy that students are not only our future but are here now and ready to collaborate with adults to use their talents and energy along with technology to make a better world. We are already seeing evidence that our present K-12 students in Parkland, FL and around the country are using technology to to realize change. 

I appreciate all of the GenYES facilitators’ efforts in developing new leaders. Your STLs can be a catalyst to ensure that real equality and justice will be realized in the next 50 years. 

TAP of the Week

Today's TAP of the Week comes from a 7th grader at Ecker Hill Middle School in Utah, where an STL helped edit the morning announcements.

Title: Monday's Announcements
TAP Description: Edit Monday's Announcement
TAP Accomplishments: As I edit the announcements for Monday April 2nd I cut and dragged out clips not needed and or edited them becuase they were a completely different clip. As there was still problems like there was no pledge and or didn't have any clips of something important I gave it to Mrs.Marshall to double check and edit them a bit more.

Victoria Bawn