Survey Finds U.S. Civil Rights Organizations Struggle
To Adjust to Internet Age
A report released by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) and the Leadership Conference Education Fund (LCEF) indicates that while the national civil rights organizations recognize the importance of the Internet, many groups lack the financial, technical and knowledge-based resources to fully participate in important communications and information technology policy debates.
The report, titled From Digital Disconnect to Digital Empowerment, reports that although several groups have made substantial progress in this area, many national civil rights organizations are at the very beginning stages of integrating Internet-based resources into their work. The Ford Foundation, the Markle Foundation and the AOL Time Warner Foundation funded the study.
“The findings of the report released today are of great concern. The report makes clear that while national civil rights organizations know that it is critical for all segments of society to participate fully in the information technology revolution and related policy debates, many of our leading organizations are being left behind,” says Wade Henderson, executive director of the LCCR.
In a related development, the LCCR and the LCEF, in partnership with the AOL Time Warner Foundation, has launched a new Web site, <www.civilrights.org>, to harness the power of the Internet behind the nation’s civil rights agenda.
The civil rights portal increases the civil rights community’s access to information technology and includes the nation’s most extensive online collection of civil rights policy resources and interactive tools. The interactive tools include a content clearinghouse, interactive calendar and a national directory of civil rights organizations.
“The new civilrights.org helps to bridge the divide identified in the report and is a powerful tool for educating the public about civil rights, promoting our nation’s diversity and helping organizations to overcome traditional barriers that limit their use of the latest technologies,” says Karen McGill Lawson, executive director of LCEF.
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