Organizations Come Together to Close the Equity Gap on the Digital Divide in Sandtown-Winchester

A diverse regional DMV collaborative creates a free WIFI mesh network connecting residents in Sandtown-Winchester during the pandemic.

Baltimore, MD – May 6th, 2020. A group of technology experts and community-based organizations are pooling resources to establish high-speed internet access so students can continue their studies at home.

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus), is exposing infrastructure gaps within underserved and resource deprived communities across the United States. These gaps are often linked to income, public health, and digital inequalities. Ultimately leaving residents within Baltimore City’s Black Butterfly, a term coined by Dr. Lawrence Brown, without equitable access to real-time information and virtual connectivity.

Inequity in broadband internet or WiFi means deep digital redlining in Baltimore’s Black Butterfly and the city’s environmentally oppressed communities in South Baltimore. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Baltimore’s vulnerable neighborhoods need free access to the internet to stay abreast of what is happening and to take measures to protect their health. This collaborative effort should be applauded and extended to all neighborhoods suffering from deep digital redlining.” – Dr. Lawrence Brown, previously a professor at Morgan State University and now with the Director County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, Population Health Institute and Visiting Associate Professor (CHS), Population Health Sciences at UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health

Within one week, an actionable working collective formed by Jonathan Moore Founder & CEO of, Dustin Loop Executive Director of the Internet Society DC Chapter, Doug Fireside Principle at New Song Academy, Juan Nance Community School Coordinator for Elev8 Baltimore at New Song Academy, Adam Bouhmad Founder & Executive Director of Project Waves, to immediately connect youth to reduce the educational divide.

The current Covid-19 crisis has only exacerbated the educational disparities that our city’s children have been experiencing for decades. With more and more instruction moving online, it’s vitally important that we address the digital divide. Educators are attempting to address the device gap through a mobile first strategy, but addressing the lack of access to high speed wifi is just as important.” – Dr. Eric Rice, assistant clinical professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Education

Their combined efforts to deliver and execute on the deep rooted needs of the community, will reduce educational disparities, begin dismantling the digital divide, subdue growing anxieties as COVID-19 impacts Baltimore with access to real-time information.


About mission is to leverage broadband infrastructure, spurring economic development & community revitalization, from the ground up. The strategic impact solutions will focus on chipping away profound civic communal issues, affordable connectivity, increasing “the dollar footprint,” workforce development, technical training, citizen data collection, community IP, while working with local residents.

About New Song Academy is making a long-term investment in the lives of families in Sandtown-Winchester, supporting students to become leaders in transforming their community. New Song Academy is committed to developing and empowering leaders by providing year-round educational opportunities for children, youth, and their families. Serving Grades Pre K – 8.

About Elev8 Baltimore partners with schools, families, and the community to ensure that every student is prepared for high school, college, career, and life. Through our full-service community school strategy we coordinate resources and opportunities to advance school and community priorities. Elev8 is the community school partner to three schools in Sandtown-Winchester.

About Project Wave is a Community ISP focused on providing Internet access to all. Over one third of the Baltimore City population is without Internet access. Waves builds relationships with community organizers across the city and focuses on lighting up access to residential areas that are classified as Internet Deserts.

About ISOC-DC The Greater Washington D.C. Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-DC) is a membership organization that seeks to further the mission of the Internet Society (ISOC) in the District-Maryland-Northern Virginia metropolitan area by serving as a hub for education and discussion concerning the important issues confronting the future of the Internet.