March 17, 1946 Jackie Roosevelt Robinson made his professional debut as a member of the Montreal Royals in the Daytona Beach ballpark that now bears his name. One year later, Robinson would break Major League Baseball's color barrier and earn the inaugural Rookie of the Year Award as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson batted .311 in ten Major League seasons and was named the National League's Most Valuable Player. Robinson was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, 16 years after his historic debut in Daytona Beach. African Americans and others of good will cheered and we as country benefited when Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier.
Fifty three years after Jackie Robinson’s barrier breaking feat the Federal Communications Commission completed the monumental National Broadband Plan. Rainbow PUSH Coalition applauds President Obama and Congress for requesting a Plan to break the barrier separating the digital haves from the have-nots. “All Americans will benefit from the Commission’s efforts in offering concrete steps to making universal broadband a reality,” says Rev. Jackson. We are particularly encouraged by the impact that this Plan will have on minorities who are currently underserved by broadband technology.
According to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 62 percent of all Americans have home broadband connections, but in the African American community, that figure is lower. 57 percent of African Americans subscribe to broadband at home. The National Broadband Plan could spark adoption among non-adopters, potentially bridging the digital divide. For our community, such progress is long overdue.
We look forward to working with the Commission to make sure that no proposed regulations to implement the National Broadband Plan will have the unintended consequences of making broadband inaccessible to the underserved communities we represent. As long as there is still a digital divide, all potential policies governing the Internet must be viewed through the lens of whether such policy will widen or expand the disparity. Jackie Robinson’s entrance into Major League Baseball did not guarantee him or the Brooklyn Dodgers success, but it did afford both the opportunity to compete. “We believe that this Plan makes strides towards eradicating the digital divide and gives underserved communities the opportunity to compete,” noted Rev. Jackson.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization devoted to protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. To learn more, please visit www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366.