Watching Russia attack and invade Ukraine, I am astounded by the impact that instantaneous information is having on the war. Normal, everyday citizens from around the globe are sharing reports, videos, and opensource intelligence analysis via online platforms and messaging apps. More than just a conduit for reporting news, internet access is now shaping and directing the course of global events. It is a staggering shift. Yes, access to information has always been a factor in war; however, for the general public in the past, the role of information was more about sentiment and support (or lack thereof) for hostilities – not an active role in impacting events on the ground or decisions as they are being made. Today, we can engage real time with individuals in a city under siege, help spread truthful information around the globe, send digital funds directly to victims, and even volunteer to help the cause in some way. It is remarkable, and it is predicated on one thing: internet access, the free flow of information.
It can be easy to forget just how important it is to be connected, and how vital those connections really are. At Funds For Learning, our mission is to help students stay connected, and we do so by helping K-12 schools and public libraries seek federal E-rate funding for internet connections. It is not as dramatic as Starlink sending internet access to war-torn Ukraine, but we know our work is important nevertheless.
Knowledge plays a powerful role in shaping both individual lives and the world at large, and we should all stand on the side of providing individuals access to information.