Ceremony set to kick off latest initiative to bridge digital divide in NYC
Bronx, NY – June 9, 2022 – The Knowledge House (TKH), Andrew Freedman Home, and The Bronx Community Foundation, in partnership with CityBridge, the consortium behind LinkNYC,and New York City DoITT, will officially launch, the Bronx Gigabit Center at the historical Andrew Freedman Home, 1125 Grand Concourse (at 168th Street), in the Bronx on Saturday, June 11, 2022 from 12 – 4 PM. The ceremony will include a special appearance by the Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson, and keynote speeches from: Gibson, as well as Matt Fraser, New York City’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and the Commissioner of the Office of Technology and Innovation; Robert Sokota, President, Wireless Division at CityBridge; Nick Colvin, CEO of CityBridge; Hugh O’Kane, President, Hugh O’Kane Electric Co.,Inc.; Walter Puryear, Director, Andrew Freedman Home; Jerelyn Rodriguez, CEO & Co-Founder, The Knowledge House; and Dr. Meisha Porter, President & CEO of The Bronx Community Foundation.
The Bronx Gigabit Center is set to provide high-speed Internet, technology innovation and small business development powered by the free LinkNYC public WiFi network. CityBridge and their partners ZenFi Networks and Intersection ZenFi Networks, CityBridge and their partners partnering organizations have plans for the development of additional gigabit centers across New York City, including Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. These facilities will provide free public Wi-Fi access via the LinkNYC network, along with digital literacy training, free access to laptops and workstations, and other services to further help bridge the digital divide. The Manhattan Gigabit Center was launched in Harlem in partnership with Silicon Harlem earlier this year.
Click here to RSVP to the Bronx Gigabit Center Launch Event: https://www.classy.org/event/bronx-gigabit-center-launch-event/e407877
For the Bronx Gigabit Center The Digital Library project will develop new educational and workforce programs that prepare youth, young adults, and adults in digital production. Educational focus will be directed towards interdisciplinary skills that cross the creative industries of media, multimedia production, post production, digital printing, mixed multi-media art, music, sound engineering, audio technology, graphic arts, visual arts and animation. The goal is the development of an interdisciplinary educational content, peer to peer connectivity, and an innovative approach to online education and appreciation. By fulfilling this mission, the Digital Library Project would promote equitable use of digital services and technology, empowering communities impacted by the digital divide to overcome barriers to digital literacy, education, and economic opportunities.
The Knowledge House will bring digital literacy workshops and customized digital programming to the Andrew Freedman Home and the greater Bronx community. These workshops will run the gamut from technical instruction on computer basics and surfing the internet to foundational lessons in coding. Participants will also have the opportunity to apply for the organization’s year long Karim Karbouch Coding Fellowship for high school students and the Innovation Fellowship for adults. As TKH expands its model to Newark, NJ; Los Angeles, CA; and Atlanta, GA the co-founders also want to continue expanding within the Bronx to make sure that digital access and literacy will always reach Bronxites until the digital divide is nonexistent.
“At CityBridge we believe that internet access is an essential human right, and our mission is to provide connectivity to all five boroughs of this great city. Understanding how to safely and effectively use that access to connect with jobs, education and other opportunities is just as important. This is why we are so proud to partner with the Andrew Freedman Home and The Knowledge House to provide this Center and support the vital programming they will offer.” -Nick Colvin, CEO of CityBridge
“The Bronx Community Foundation in partnership with The Bronx Digital Equity Coalition supports Digital Equity and inclusion in The Bronx. Closing the digital divide and providing access to technology is one of the ways we intend to interrupt systemic inequities. We are proud to have been one of the initial organizations engaged to launch The Bronx Gigabit Center and are excited to be a part of this launch in partnership with The Andrew Freedman Home and The Knowledge House to provide devices, innovative digital programming, and workforce development opportunities for all Bronxites. The Foundation is committed to continuing to provide the support needed for the center and our wider community. Technology is not a luxury, it is a necessity, and together we will ensure our community stays connected.” –Dr. Meisha Porter, President and CEO, The Bronx Community Foundation
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About NYC OTI
The Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) is the leading voice of technology in the City of New York. Technology underpins everything the City does, from policing to benefits screening, and with the combined power of technology expertise across the City, OTI is agile, efficient, and laser-focused on revolutionizing technology and government with an aim at increasing the quality of service for all New Yorkers. We “Get Stuff Done” by streamlining every facet of the City’s technology management into a single cohesive work stream with one common purpose: to enhance the lives of New Yorkers through technology.
About The Knowledge House
The Knowledge House (TKH) is committed to taking low-income youth and young adults from unemployment and underemployment to financial independence and stability by providing them with free technical training and professional development services that put them on a direct path to employment in the tech sector. Companies that hire our graduates include Bloomberg LP, McKinsey and Company, DStillery, Citibank, Facebook, and Goldman Sachs.
Since its founding in 2014 in the Bronx, the critically-acclaimed TKH has expanded to have satellite programs in Newark, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
The Knowledge House has received generous funding from: NBA Foundation, American Heart Association, Robin Hood Foundation, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Capital One, Citi Foundation, Goldman Sachs, New York Community Trust, Summerfield Foundation and more. The Knowledge House has been featured in: Blavity, Ebony, Forbes, Crain’s New York Business WABC “Here & Now” and many other media outlets.
About Andrew Freedman House
Andrew Freedman Home (AFH) – an initiative of The Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Center (MBSCC), a community based organization with the mission to extend economic, cultural, and social opportunities that allow the community to thrive, is a contemporary cultural space of artists, artisans and entrepreneurs in the Bronx area of New York City. The AFH comprises the Artist In Residence Program, a Media Center, and a Tech & Design Incubator, which supports artists, entrepreneurial start-ups, and workforce initiatives. The AFH’s mission is to create global hubs that provide innovative solutions and durable structures that foster community development.
The Digital Library Project was created by The Andrew Freedman Home. The Digital Library Project is creating an online platform that archives and showcases interdisciplinary artists’ practices and their artworks, creates educational content and hosts panel discussions and podcasts on global topics relating to social inequities and issues, systemic racism, multi generational wealth, digital divide, and contemporary diasporism.
About The Bronx Community Foundation
The Bronx Community Foundation is the first and only community foundation in The Bronx, solely dedicated to delivering resources to the entire borough. The Foundation supports and invests in community power to eradicate inequity and build sustainable futures for all Bronxites. Our model is unique in that we engage community stakeholders across the borough in identifying challenges and designing solutions that create four pillars of sustainability: health, economic security, community and equity and justice.
About The Digital Equity Coalition
The Bronx Digital Equity Coalition brings together over 70 organizations from the borough to collectively address digital inequities and advocate for innovative, sustained, and community-generated solutions.
LinkNYC is the world’s largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi network. Each Link kiosk provides free superfast Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging, access to social services, and displays content such as real-time weather, transit info, public art and local information. The city-wide network has over 10 million Wi-Fi users and has connected more than 25 million free phone calls. All of LinkNYC’s services are completely free to users and taxpayers, provided by CityBridge, a partnership between Intersection and ZenFi Networks. The next phase of LinkNYC will deploy thousands of new kiosks, called Link5G, enabled with 5G wireless technology across the city. For more information about LinkNYC or to find a Link near you, visit www.link.nyc.
About ZenFi Networks
ZenFi Networks, an innovative digital infrastructure company that delivers wireless siting, offload and roaming, network edge colocation and fiber optic network solutions in the NY-NJ metro region, is creating a platform to allow different providers the opportunity to expand 5G. ZenFi Networks has an unparalleled reputation for efficiently architecting and delivering solutions that enable not only Mobile Network Operators, Wholesale Telecommunications Providers, large enterprises but also the communities that need to be connected. With its purpose-built C-RAN infrastructure, ZenFi Networks is at the forefront of network architecture innovation and a critical part of the digital ecosystem in one of the biggest, most important markets in the world. For more information, please visit: www.zenfi.com.