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Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.

#089--March 17, 2000: MEDIA RELEASE
Contact: Ted DeAdwyler
phone: 415/338-1665

How Wide is the Digital Divide in San Francisco? Business, Community, Education Leaders to Hold Town Hall Meeting March 27 on a Bay Area Top Economic Issue

SAN FRANCISCO, March 17, 2000 --- Silicon Valley may be just down the road from San Francisco, but it might as well be a million miles away for the local communities with little access to technology, say San Francisco State University educators who will join community and high tech leaders in a search for solutions to the digital divide during a town hall meeting on March 27 at 6 p.m. at S.F. State.

"Leaders in our communities, in business and in education need to hear what we're all doing to help solve this enormous problem, so that we might have the opportunity to create a common vision and innovative collaborations that are even more successful than any of our separate initiatives," said Kenneth Monteiro, dean of human relations at S.F. State and an organizer of the gathering.

The public is invited to E-Equity: Higher Education and Community Solutions for the Digital Divide - A Town Hall Meeting on Monday, March 27 from 6-9 p.m. in S.F. State's Seven Hills Conference Center. The town hall, co-sponsored by the Television Race Initiative and KQED, will feature a sneak preview of Part 2 of the ITVS series "Digital Divide" which will air on KQED-TV Channel 9 on March 30.

The series producer, David Bolt of Studio Miramar, will moderate the town hall panel which includes Richard McCline of S.F. State's College of Business and president of the Black Chamber of Commerce in Oakland; Zorica Pantic-Tanner, director of S.F. State's School of Engineering; Wade Randlett, founder and vice president of ClickStart; Tracy Johnson of OpNet; and Elsa Macias, director of information and technology research at the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the Claremont Colleges.

The town hall meeting comes at a time when the U.S. Department of Commerce has called the "digital divide" one of America's leading economic and civil rights issues. Earlier this month, the Rev. Jesse Jackson came to Silicon Valley to open a regional office of his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and begin an effort to encourage high tech companies to provide more training and jobs for minorities and women.

The following panelists will discuss those issues and others.

Richard L. McCline, is co-director of the Ohrenschall Center for Entrepreneurship at SFSU, where he is an assistant professor of management in the College of Business. McCline's experience includes more than 20 years as a senior executive in both the private sector (corporate retailing and small business owner) and community economic development.

Zorica Pantic-Tanner in 1997 established SFSU's Partnership for Engineering Education (PFEE) program with high schools, community colleges, and industry. The program actively promotes the engineering profession among urban high school and community college students and helps to facilitate access to affordable, high-quality engineering education at SFSU.

Wade Randlett, founder and board member of ClickStart, an organization that brings computers and Internet access into the homes of low-income families, is also co-founder and vice president for business development at Red Gorilla, a web-based time tracking and invoicing system.

Elsa Macias is a project director at the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute where she works on diverse information technology issues. Her "Digital Steppingstones" research project examines exemplary information technology (IT) program strategies in schools, libraries and community centers to increase access to IT in disadvantaged communities. Her other research projects include examining the role of on-line content in impacting access to the Internet in the Latino community.

Tracy Johnson, who at one time had no income and lived in the Compass Family Center with her two children (with another on the way), has worked her way up to become assistant webmaster at Miller Freeman with the assistance of OpNet, a non-profit organization that provides low-income young people in San Francisco with training and internships in the new media industry. Tracy recently appeared on "Good Morning America" for the example she set demonstrating how OpNet ( works to bridge the technology gap.

David Bolt, executive producer of "Digital Divide" film series and SFSU alumnus, has produced more than 100 documentaries and has won numerous awards for his CD-ROM and multimedia programs. His work includes directing the technology for the Bay Area Video Coalition, George Lucas Educational Foundation, and California College of Arts & Crafts.

For more information about the town hall meeting, call the San Francisco State University Office of Human Relations at (415) 338-3459.


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