Zendaya's Quotes On Trump Era Prove "Young People Have To Demand What They Need" – EXCLUSIVE
Did you know there are schools in the United States that have zero wifi access? None, nada, zilch. In a world where everything is done online, there are schools throughout the nation that do not have any kind of internet access whatsoever. If you're scratching your head wondering how this could be possible in the U.S., the documentary Without A Net: The Digital Divide In America explains exactly how this has become a reality. Elite Daily had the chance to speak with Zendaya about her involvement with the documentary and Verizon's #WeNeedMore campaign, and Zendaya's advice to young kids about their education will make you want to get up and do something about this divide.
Verizon's #WeNeedMore campaign is dedicated to bridging the digital divide in schools nationwide by providing the vital technology underprivileged schools need for their students in order for them to be able to keep up with the times. They teamed up with documentary filmmaker/Academy Award nominee Rory Kennedy (daughter of Robert F. Kennedy) to create Without A Net. Together, they're aiming to shed light on this technological crisis underprivileged schools in the U.S. are currently facing. (Yes, not having the proper tools to teach children how to succeed in the real world is a crisis.)
Zendaya had a front-row seat to this issue as the daughter of two educators growing up in California. Her father was a P.E. teacher and a coach at her private school, and her mother taught middle school and 5th grade at an underprivileged public school just one mile away from hers. She tells Elite Daily that while she was growing up, she constantly questioned why her school had so much, yet her mother's school had so little. The answer is funding. Zendaya says,
She rightfully says it doesn't inspire kids to believe in themselves and their intelligence when they see that other schools have no issue learning to be digitally literate and they have to struggle to just get connected to the internet. She adds,
Without A Net, narrated by Jamie Foxx, is a powerful story that uses real-life examples of children who have to go to extraordinary lengths just to get their homework done. And it's not just a lack of wifi that affects these kids' education: having an internet connection is almost useless if you don't have the devices to connect them to. And that's where Without A Net begins. It follows the stories of an elementary school student who doesn't have a computer at home to complete her assignments on, a high school student whose Pennsylvania high school doesn't have enough computers for their students to work on, and a high school student whose rural Kentucky community is struggling to create a future for itself that doesn't solely rely on coal mining.
For one of the children featured in this documentary, a homework assignment that would take only 15 minutes on a computer takes her an hour. Amanda Acevedo is a student at P.S. 171 in Harlem. In the documentary, her teacher says she's very bright and "loves to learn," but her family can't afford a computer, so she ends up having to do her homework assignments on her mother's iPhone.
There's another school in California the documentary focuses on that was able to provide their students with the devices and internet they need at school, but a lot of the kids' families can't afford to have wifi at home, so their devices are rendered useless once they get home. This story is one that particularly stuck with Zendaya. She tells Elite Daily,
It's easy to take accessible internet and technology for granted, Zendaya says. So many of us are so used to walking into a building, a friend's place, our offices, etc., and instantly being able to connect to the internet. But there are children nationwide whose schools don't have the money to be able to provide them these things that have become the most baseline necessities in the digital era. Her advice to young students who are facing difficulties such as these? Be as proactive as you can. She tells Elite Daily,
When it comes to fighting adversity in the Trump era, Zendaya wants us to focus on our nation's children. She explains,
When asked why she believes this issue is so vital now, she says,
Can't argue with that. You can watch the entire Without A Net documentary on DigitalDivide.com and YouTube.