Verizon Convenes Second Citizen Verizon Assembly: Education is not up for debate

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Virtual town-hall will feature celebrities, educators and more to address education inequality and student mental health


What you need to know:

  • Citizen Verizon Assembly: Education is Not Up for Debate brings together Yara Shahidi, Gabrielle Union, Soledad O’Brien, professors, politicians and business leaders for an urgent debate on today’s education system, with a look to the future

  • Verizon Innovative Learning has expanded VIL school data plans to 30GB

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Basking Ridge, NJ - On Wednesday, September 23, Verizon will host the second Citizen Verizon Assembly, Education is Not Up for Debate, for a timely discussion about the education system, covering remote learning, inequality and mental health as Verizon continues to convene advocates, activists, and nonprofit and business leaders to address the most pressing global economic, environmental and social issues. The event can be watched LIVE at 6PM ET on Yahoo Life, Yahoo Home and @Verizon on Twitter.

The hour-long virtual event will include keynotes and discussions with leaders from around the globe, including mental health activist Catie Cole, actress, producer and change agent Yara Shahidi, and actress, entrepreneur and activist Gabrielle Union, among others.

After an introduction from Shahidi, and remarks from Verizon’s Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer, Rose Stuckey Kirk, the event will open with a debate moderated by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien. Focusing on the current issues facing students and teachers, and how we can build a public education system for the future, debate participants include:

  • Anthony Jack, Author and Assistant Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education;
  • Michelle Udall, Republican member of the Arizona House of Representative; and
  • Jordan Shapiro, Assistant Professor at Temple University.

Students, teachers and parents are in the midst of another school year of remote or hybrid learning in most classrooms across the country. Following the debate, Soledad O’Brien will moderate a mental health fireside chat that brings together leaders and activists to discuss the best ways for both students and parents to cope with the new normal in education:

  • Catie Cole, co-founder of The Mental Health Coalition and creator of How Are You Really?;
  • Gabrielle Union, actress, entrepreneur and activist; and
  • Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, President, Medical Director of Child Mind Institute.

Verizon has a history of supporting education and have bolstered their efforts this year by:

  • Tripling data plans from 10GB to 30GB a month for students and teachers in Verizon Innovative Learning schools;
  • Expanding the Verizon Innovative Learning program to include high schools for the first time;
  • Creating digital resources to help with distance learning available to parents and teachers across the nation;
  • Providing over 38 million students in 40 states and DC with connectivity for distance learning.

Verizon is helping bridge the digital divide through Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. Citizen Verizon aims to help more students than ever stay connected and thrive in today's virtual learning environment by providing 10 million young people with the digital skills training necessary for them to thrive in a modern economy.

To learn more about Citizen Verizon and the company’s Digital Inclusion efforts, visit

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