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Education, Equity & the Digital Divide in D.C.: A Conversation with Serve Your City & Community Partners
Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM EDT
Category: Events



Yale Club of DC Virtual Event


Bridging the Digital and Educational Divide:
A Fundraiser for Serve Your City


Tuesday, March 16, 2021


This meeting will be conducted on Zoom.  Instructions will be provided upon registration

Join the Yale Club of Washington D.C. in partnering with Serve Your City (SYC), a local nonprofit that is organizing to ensure that every student in D.C. can access educational resources and high-speed internet today and tomorrow. 

  • Moderator: Lovinia Reynolds, former Communications Lead for Ward 6 Mutual Aid and current Yale School of Environment student

  • Maurice Cook, Founder & Executive Director, Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid

  • Michael Houck, Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid Tech Lead

  • Christian Sutton, Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid Tech and Food Distribution Organizer

  • Ryane B. Nickens, Founder & President, TraRon Center

  • Miranda Mlilo, Tutoring & Extracurricular Education Lead, Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many systemic disparities—including Black and Brown student access to educational support, technology and internet connectivity —these barriers have always existed for many of D.C.’s students. To address these inequities, individuals and organizations across the District have stepped up and built innovative solutions that are rooted in the strength of local communities. Our goal is to raise $5,000 to support this important work. Help bridge the digital and educational divide -- make a donation today!

About the Speakers

Maurice Cook
Raised in Maryland and Washington, D.C., Maurice Cook was the first male in his family to attend college, eventually earning a master’s degree. His love of his hometown, coupled with his frustration with the systemic racism experienced by Black and Brown youth in D.C. and throughout this country, drove Maurice to create Serve Your City in 2009 and to step up as a leader with Ward 6 Mutual Aid when the pandemic struck in March 2020. He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Jackie.

Mike Houck
Michael Houck was born and raised in Washington, D.C. He manages Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid’s Tech Program.  

Christian Sutton
Christian Sutton was born and raised in Washington, D.C. He is an organizer for Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid’s food distribution and Tech Program

Miranda Mlilo
Miranda Mlilo is the creator and coordinator of the Tutoring and Youth Enrichment Program at Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid, known as the Free School for Unlimited Youth. She works to end the opportunity gap by providing academic tutoring and creative after school activities for students in historically underserved communities. As a child of immigrant parents from Palestine and Zimbabwe, Miranda is passionate about advancing equity and works in the community to organize around indigenous sovereignty, and racial and environmental justice.

Ryane B. Nickens
Ryane B. Nickens, M.Div., is the Founder and President of The TraRon Center in Washington, D.C., where she was born and raised. The center provides a safe space for families that have endured the pain of gun violence to find healing through the creative arts. Ryane is currently in the process of becoming an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and is the author of “From the Gutters to a Mansion: My Journey to My Heavenly Father.” She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and Howard University.

Lovinia Reynolds
Lovinia Reynolds is a former DC resident and a proud former organizer with Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid. For Lovinia, working with SYC/W6MA was both an incredible community and a unique privilege. Lovinia is a Black environmentalist committed to rethinking traditional energy systems and approaching energy issues from a justice lens. She currently lives in New Haven and is a first year graduate student at the Yale School of the Environment. When she is not studying and surviving the pandemic, you can find her hiking or at the beach. 

About Serve Your City DC 

In collaboration with partner organizations in the Ward 6 Mutual Aid network, Serve Your City provides devices, internet access, and tutoring to ensure all students in D.C. have access to these critical services. The SYC Tech program trains high school and college students to acquire, refurbish, and then redistribute used electronic devices in systemically under-resourced communities.

SYC also facilitates the Free School for Unlimited Youth, a program designed to serve families that are juggling financial instability and health concerns while simultaneously facing enormous pressure to manage the virtual education of their children. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the Free School for Unlimited Youth has matched hundreds of students with free virtual tutors and  extracurricular programs.

Taken together and combined with other ongoing efforts, this work leverages the strength that exists already in our neighborhoods and supports our community from within. To learn more about Serve Your City and Ward 6 Mutual Aid, visit www.serveyourcitydc.org.


Contact: Maria Vera Whelan - [email protected]