Bridging the diversity gap online
Monday, September 01, 2003
Author hopes to bring more black families to the web
For Stacey Montgomery, it wasn't necessity that was the mother of invention, it was motherhood that inspired necessity.
Three years ago the greeting card designer noticed there was a void on the Web for African-American families. "My friends were having children and I was pregnant," she says. "There weren't a whole lot of resources out there for black parents."
So Montgomery, a 37-year-old graduate of Columbia University and Boston University School of Law, created CelebratingChildren.com, a site that offers multicultural children's books, parenting tips, her own line of greeting cards, and articles on issues facing black parents. Montgomery says many of the topics, such as childhood obesity, are relevant but not exclusive to African Americans.
Conducting research for her Web site lead Montgomery to find another void in the market: information was often difficult to find and not in a single, easy-to-use source. Her solution? Black Families Online: Directory of Online Resources for Black Parents. The book, released in July, has 380 online products and services—from researching family history to educational tools designed for black audiences.
Montgomery says her 193-page book is the product of hundreds of hours of research. "I lived online night and day," the Aurora-based author says with a laugh. "I was cross-eyed by the end."
She says the book also is an attempt to get more black families online. Nielsen/NetRatings, a media measurement group, found that only about 10 million blacks use the Internet. Although that figure has grown 22 percent since 2001, blacks acount for only about 8 percent of all Web users.
Other online resources for African-American families include: www.blackfamilynet.net/soon/index.html, and www.familydigest.com.
Resources for Hispanic families include: www.elclick.com, www.latinopapi.com/html/ndx_links.php and www.solomujeres.com.
Resources for Asian families include www.askasia.org.
-- Sandra Nygaard, Medill News Service