If you know anything at all about Historic West End Partners, then chances are good that you’ve also heard of J’Tanya Adams, the organization’s president.
It seems that Adams is always coming up with new ways to improve and promote the Historic West End. And now she’s expanding her efforts beyond her own immediate community.
On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Adams, who doubles as the regional manager for EveryoneOn, a national nonprofit that seeks to eliminate the digital divide, will lead Historic West End Partners in a collaboration with other nonprofits to put low-cost computers and Internet access into the homes of people who otherwise could not afford them.
The event, called the Internet and Computer Bazaar, will be held at Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church (1901 Rozzelles Ferry Rd).
“We are not waiting for someone to give us something,” Adams said in a recent interview with Qcitymetro. “A lot of time we wait for someone outside of our community and outside of our culture to help us, when we can help ourselves. We can make these things attainable and affordable.”
Here are some details:
In addition to Historic West End Charlotte, others involved in the effort include: EveryoneOn, Kramden Institute, Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Urban League of the Central Carolinas, Johnson C. Smith University, Digital Charlotte Steering Committee, and Automation Design Consultants.
For $10.90 a month, 200 local residents/families can sign up for basic Internet service provided through a third party. The deal comes with a one-time fee ($47.51) to purchase a device that will create an Internet hotspot in a user’s home. (You’ll need to pay for this with a debit or credit card.)
If the family does not have a computer, they may purchase one that has been refurbished by the Kramden Institute for $60 (Cash or money order made out to HWEP).
For people unfamiliar with computers or the Internet, someone will be there to demonstrate how to set up the machine, how to navigate to the Internet, and how to turn off the machine. Families also may sign up for a one-day computer course taught by Google fellows assigned to the library and the Urban League.
Studies show that families without computers and Internet access are at a big disadvantage when it comes to learning, finding jobs and even saving money.
Adams recalled how she once used an Internet coupon to save herself more than $650 on a medication her doctor had prescribed. She also noted that many employers now require applicants to interview or take tests online.
“I want to see everybody who is unconnected who desires to get connected, get connected,” she said, “and I want to make sure that we are an informed society.”
According to some of the most reliable estimates, as many as 30 percent of Charlotte’s population does not have reliable Internet service at home. Many of those who are unconnected are seniors (65 and older), African Americans, low-income residents and those with less than a high school education.
“This is about having Internet access in your own home — any time, anywhere, when you are ready,” Adams said. “You’re not restricted by others as to when you have use and for how long. You can apply for jobs anytime you want to. You can increase your education, get certifications or do research when you want to.”