Community Engagement

Digital Equity Forum

Governor's Office of Equity

In 2021, The Athena Group began a yearlong partnership with the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Broadband Office and the Governor’s Office of Equity to co-design and facilitate the inaugural year of Digital Equity Forum (DEF), which was established as a new governing entity by the Washington State Legislature. The primary goal of the Digital Equity Forum was to engage with Washingtonians and determine their primary needs to enhance access to broadband internet and technologies that are vital for meaningfully participating in 21st century society. Tevin Medley and Dr. Anthony Campbell worked with staff and DEF members to provide authentic spaces for listening and learning from historically marginalized and underrepresented groups.

The consultants partnered with Elizabeth Ralston Consulting and Avantpage to ensure that all meeting spaces, be they online or in-person, were fully accessible to any participant. Those accessibility provisions included real-time translation in multiple languages, conceptual accessibility for all presentation materials and meeting notes, and a statewide survey (archived version) that had on demand access for seventeen overall languages including embedded American Sign Language videos. Ultimately, over 3,000 Washington residents across a diversity of engagement efforts (listening sessions, focus groups, public meetings, and the online survey) were authentically and substantively engaged to help advance Washington State’s trailblazing work to create more digital equity.

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