UNITY: Journalists of Color to Hold Digital Divide Town Hall

WASHINGTON, DC, May 13, 2002 — UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., is hosting a national town hall meeting in Washington to discuss: What specific actions, if any, should government and the private sector undertake to ensure that both young people and entrepreneurs of color bridge the digital divide? Toward this end, an esteemed group of panelists and members of the audience will be asked to participate in a lively conversation to provide potential solutions and best practices.

“Building a Bridge to the Information Superhighway: Solutions for Closing the Digital Divide,”
Town Hall 2002 is being sponsored by Microsoft Corp. and presented with the National Press Club.

“Microsoft is committed to working with communities and businesses to help them realize their full potential”
said Bruce Brooks, director of Community Affairs at Microsoft.
“Bridging the digital divide requires a collaborative effort that involves creating strong relationships with organizations such as UNITY. Microsoft is honored to be part of such a distinguished group of leaders and organizations exploring meaningful solutions.”

UNITY Town Hall 2002 will be moderated by Joie Chen of CBS Evening News. Confirmed panelists include Larry Irving, President, Irving Information Group and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information; the Honorable Hector V. Barreto, Administrator, Small Business Administration and former Vice Chairman of the Board, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Angela Glover Blackwell, President, PolicyLink and former Senior Vice President, The Rockefeller Foundation; Benjamin Sun, Founder / President and CEO, Community Connect (parent company of AsianAvenue.com, BlackPlanet.com and MiGente.com); and Bruce Brooks, Director of Community Affairs, Microsoft. Patty Talahongva, Co-host, VillageAmerica on PBS and owner, White Spider Productions, and Anthony Wilson, Anchor / Reporter, WTVD / ABC-11, Raleigh-Durham, NC, will serve as media commentators.

Microsoft’s participation in this event underscores its long-term commitment to finding solutions to closing the digital divide. In the past fiscal year, Microsoft contributed $215 million in cash and software to a wide range of organizations, including many that work to increase access to technology and to diversify the technology work force. The programs range from expanding computer access at public libraries to working with organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America to enhance technology resources for youth. The company also has been active in reaching out to minority small-business owners through the Build Your Business Tour to demonstrate how technology can increase productivity and growth.

The event is free and open to the general public, and will take place on Wednesday, May 22, 2002, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the Ballroom of the National Press Club (located on the 13th floor of the National Press Building – 529 14th St., NW at the corner of 14th and F streets, next to the J.W. Marriott Hotel).

A one-hour television program based on this Town Hall is scheduled to air on the groundbreaking PBS multicultural news program, VillageAmerica . Produced in cooperation with UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., the VillageAmerica / UNITY Special: VillageAmerica and the Digital Divide, will be available to PBS Plus affiliates in early June.

Join us on May 22 at the National Press Club, as we seek to provide solutions that address one of the most important issues of our time.

Members of the media who plan to cover the event are requested to register in advance (e-mail name, media affiliation, and contact information to
[email protected]

Rail Transportation Arrangements

Amtrak is offering a 10 percent discount off the lowest rail fare that is available when making reservations to Washington, DC from May 12 to June 1, 2002. To book space, call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) or contact your local travel agent. Make sure to refer to Fare Code Number
when making reservations. This offer is not valid on Auto Train, Acela Club or Business Class service, or Sleeping Accommodation charges. Fare is valid on Acela Express and Metroliner Service during off-peak weekday travel and all departures on weekends. Schedules may be viewed online at www.amtrak.com.


UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., which represents 7,000 media professionals of color, is a strategic, national alliance comprised of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), and Native American Journalists Association (NAJA). UNITY’s goals are twofold: planning the largest regular gathering of journalists in the nation (the UNITY 2004 Convention to be held August 4 – 8 in Washington, DC), and developing programs and institutional relationships that promote year-round journalism advocacy and education, with a focus on fairness and accuracy in news coverage as well as diversity in America’s newsrooms.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

For additional information on UNITY Town Hall or to learn more about UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., please call (703) 469-2100, or visit www.unityjournalists.org.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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