With sixteen percent of Philly residents living without steady internet access, the digital and information divide marginalizes the city’s predominantly Black and brown communities. Born in response to the pandemic, Resolve Philly’s initiative Equally Informed bridges the city’s digital divide by building relationships with residents, community organizations and sharing vetted local news, information and resources through SMS texting and a community-driven print newsletter. The Equal Info Line provides important updates to city residents, from vaccine rollout and eligibility to providing necessary information to help people vote in the general and primary elections. Managed by two of Resolve Philly’s staff, the SMS texting service is available in both English and in Spanish. In addition to sending updates, the Equally Informed team also researches answers to questions sent in by subscribers.
Not only does Equally Informed answer questions and act as an ear to the ground but also empowers residents to become media makers through the launch of the “Info Hub Captains” network, a cohort of community leaders that identifies information needs the Equally Informed team can answer through the text line or through the community-powered print newsletter. Topics from the newsletter include nonprofits in the city that are diversifying food aid, community responses to the rise in anti-Asian hate and a spotlight on resources for survivors of gun violence. The newsletter was written in English, Spanish and in simplified
In collaboration with Journalism and Design at the New School, the team is also offering Info Hub Captains a certificate course that will demystify the journalism process and strengthen storytelling skills. Altogether, Equally Informed works with communities to meet their information needs through steady, active listening, providing actionable information and solutions to communities in Philadelphia who are most affected by the digital divide.