Updated: Oct 13, 2020
In the summer of 2011, the United Nations declared access to the internet not only a necessity but a human right in modern society. This declaration was hardly a surprise when it was released, access to the internet had become a vital tool to combat inequality, react in emergencies, and develop human progress. In that same report, the UN urged the world to make universal access to this crucial tool a priority. And, as of this year, New York – with the help of Google – is beginning to answer that call.
New York has taken a fun, retro feel to their streets and has begun replacing outdated payphones with tall, slim, and functional Links that provide free internet access to the city. This will have sweeping and powerful results for the most vulnerable of the LGBT community – the thousands of LGBT youth living on the streets of New York. Of those currently homeless in America today, over 40 percent identify as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender – a disproportionate inequality that speaks volumes.
To a disheartened, forgotten, and frustrated LGBT youth – homeless, scared, and desperate – access to the internet can be everything. It can be access to support, to services, to friends. It can be the ability to find shelter for the night, food for the day, and a coat for the cold. It can be the ability to overcome an emergency – criminal or medical. Ultimately, it can be the ability to change their lives; to find a job, a bed, and to rebuild. Furthermore, these new Links will also have the ability to provide several other important services to those in need. For one, they will provide a place to charge devices. Even more, they feature a screen that acts as an android device that will help those withou