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Posted under: News

Harlem Mom Donates Over 100 Laptops To Students In Need: ‘If I Don't Do It, Who Will?’

The Parents Supporting Parents NYC initiative has raised more than $65,000 through its GoFundMe page and plans to give laptops to at least 1,000 students.

Tanesha Grant, an activist and mother of three in Harlem, New York, is raising money to get new laptops for children who are struggling to get the essential device while learning remotely during the pandemic. Grant's group, Parents Supporting Parents NYC (PSPNYC), has already given away more than 100 laptops since the beginning of the school year. 

"I do this work because I love my people. I love our babies. And I was one of them little Black babies that was told that I totally deserved hand-me-downs," the community leader told CBS News. "That's why I do it because if I don't do it, who will?"

About 4.4 million households with students don't have access to a computer, according to the Census Bureau. One of the students who received a laptop from Grant is eight-year-old Cataleya.

"When I didn't have the laptop, I felt like I was the only one that didn't have one. I felt sad. But with this new laptop, I feel so happy and I feel special," Cataleya said. 

The PSPNYC group, which has raised more than $65,000 through its GoFundMe page, plans to give laptops to at least 1,000 students. 

"Central Harlem has the most students in temporary housing, shelters, English language learners, and a high rate of students with IEP's," the organization stated. "Central Harlem is also the most overlooked community in the city. Yet, so much culture and history come out of Harlem. It's time to give back to this community."

The organization is also calling on internet providers to contribute to the effort.

"Since COVID-19, our children have been disproportionately traumatized by this virus, from losing loved ones, food insecurity, and not having the tools to further their education," PSPNYC stated. "We are hopeful that in raising the funds for the devices, internet providers will partner with us to help give back to the community with free and dependable WiFi services."

And if there is money left over after the purchase of the laptops, the organization plans to purchase coats for children in shelters and temporary housing.

Grant also uses her social media account to highlight some of the students who are receiving the gift.

Meet Yacine a 3rd grader attending Success Academy in the BX. His Mom is originally from Africa 💜We were delighted to provide this bright boy with his own 💻 Excell and enjoy Yacine we love you! Donate today to buy a Black or Brown child their own laptop https://t.co/sEPzstlw1c pic.twitter.com/0QRzFlEKb1

— Tanesha Grant (@ForOurBabies76) March 4, 2021

Another one of the students, Yasmin Abu, received her first laptop on her 17th birthday, PIX11 reported

“You can do anything you want to and you are worthy of every opportunity in this world to become a productive adult,” Grant said.

Wayne Lewis, a former Kentucky Education commissioner and currently a dean and professor of education at Belmont University said it's an absolute necessity for students to have technology at home.

"We're at the place at this point in the 21st century where there shouldn't be any debate. Broadband access and access to digital tools and digital resources is not a luxury," Lewis told PBS. "It's an absolute necessity. And when we think about kids not having access to those things, we should think about it very similar to the way we would think if kids didn't have access to electricity."

The educator said it's the responsibility of schools and school districts, as well as the federal government, to make sure that all kids have access to the items they need.

"It's going to take partnership on the part of federal and state governments to make sure that families have that type of access," he said. 

Noting the disparity in America, Lewis said kids coming from low-income families are in danger of falling behind in academics. 

"Parents and families who have resources, who have time, are ensuring that their kids are not only not falling behind, but they're using those resources to make sure that their kids move ahead while at the same time families and kids who have traditionally been underserved and don't have resources are falling further behind," he said. 

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