Having a computer handy is something most of us take for granted — it's come to feel downright essential. But according to the Knight Foundation and the U.S. Census, a gasp-worthy 41 percent of Philadelphia households are still without a basic processor and/or Internet capabilities. Shocking, right?
To bridge the divide in the LGBTQ community, the William Way Center is unveiling its revamped CyberCenter and Multimedia Lab. William Way Executive Director Christopher Bartlett says the puny three-computer area that was previously sectioned off in the lobby has moved into its own 340-square-foot room, complete with 11 19-inch desktop PCs, a printer/scanning station and an LCD projector available for educators to rent out for computer-training sessions.
The overhaul comes courtesy of a "refresh" grant from the David Bohnett Foundation (DBF), an L.A.-based org that provides funding for technology sites in 60 LGBTQ centers across the country. "We're interested in the sense of community the labs provide," says DBF's Paul Moore when asked why it's important to supply this type of service to gay-specific neighborhood centers. "It's essential for the community to have a warm environment to meet up and learn basic computer skills."
Bartlett says the workstations are in high demand within the queer community, but he's hoping to usher in new crowds that don't typically take advantage of the Center — like disabled people and straight allies. His attention-drawing plans start with tonight's flashy kickoff party, featuring free cocktails, a tour of the new digs and entertainment by DJ Triptonik and the fab Messapotamia Lefae (pictured), who promises to show up in a "cyborg" ensemble made especially for the festivities. #youbetterwork.
Thu., Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m., free, William Way Center, 1315 Spruce St., 215-732-2220, waygay.org.