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Twitter CEO donates $10 million to provide Oakland kids with laptops, internet access

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Millions of dollars were donated to help close the digital divide for students in an East Bay school district.

That donation was made by a major player in the world of social media, whose headquarters is in the Bay Area.

“I don’t know if you know this, I woke up to the tweet of the week,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said.

That tweet was from the Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and it reads:

“$10mm to give every single child in Oakland access to a laptop and internet in their homes, closing the digital divide. Heard mayor @libbyschaaf and @ousdnews’ call and funding immediately. Thank you!”

Dorsey’s generous donation came in the day after Schaaf and the Oakland Unified School District put out a call for help closing the digital divide for Oakland students who are now engaged in distance learning at home with schools being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So I didn’t have a computer until Skyline started giving out computers,” Skyline High School junior Jessica Ramos said. “My internet was unstable because my parents couldn’t afford it.”

She says those circumstances were common among her classmates.

“Most of my friends are from deep East Oakland and not many of my friends have internet access,” she said. “So just for them to be able to connect to the internet is a big huge deal.”

“We have 83 schools, we also got about 45 charter schools, we got adult school and about 10 preschools,” Oakland Unified School District Spokesperson John Sasaki said. “We got a lot of schools, a lot of kids here and this is going to make their lives so much better.”

“And it’s not just the kids,” Schaaf said. “Their families don’t have that connectivity to the outside world.”

Jessica Ramos helped put out the bridge the divide call that ultimately led to the surprise $10 million dollar donation.

How does it feel to be that kid?

“For me it feels amazing because I’m helping out my community,” Ramos said.

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