Geist - - Endnotes - —Patty Os­borne

In 1997, when In­ter­net con­nec­tions were dial-up and most of us were just try­ing to fig­ure out how the World Wide Web worked, a group of peo­ple had the fore­sight to see that the In­ter­net could be a pow­er­ful tool for the anti-poverty move­ment. They cre­ated Povnet, a dig­i­tal net­work that sup­ports ad­vo­cates in BC and across Canada. Ac­cord­ing to the book Storm­ing the Dig­i­tal Di­vide: The Povnet Story (Lazara), writ­ten by Penny Gold­smith and il­lus­trated by Kara Sievewright and Nicole Marie Bur­ton, the first post to Povnet’s wel­fare dis­cus­sion board was from an ad­vo­cate in Ter­race, BC, who wrote “Hello, hello! Is any­body out there? I’m all alone…” Storm­ing the Dig­i­tal Di­vide is a graphic es­say collection that cov­ers the his­tory of Povnet and the anti-poverty move­ment in BC, plus sto­ries from re­mote com­mu­ni­ties such as Bella Coola and Haida Gwaii, where ad­vo­cates use Povnet to help peo­ple with things like child cus­tody dis­putes, hous­ing prob­lems, EI claims and ap­peals, and pen­sion ap­pli­ca­tions. Povnet con­tin­ues to pro­vide valu­able re­sources to ad­vo­cates who have made it their job to hunt for and in­ter­pret the in­for­ma­tion for their clients, but it can’t storm the dig­i­tal di­vide all by it­self. For this we need to in­crease ac­cess to the In­ter­net for ev­ery­one, no mat­ter where they live or how much money they have or don’t have. In our rush to em­brace the new­est tech­nolo­gies, it’s easy to leave peo­ple be­hind. This is an im­por­tant lit­tle book and its comic-strip style of sto­ry­telling keeps read­ers en­gaged.

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