OPPORTUNITY: Support the Black Lives Matter movement with open source tech and open data

One thing about social distancing and moving events online is that suddenly events that are happening in the Cities are available to a wider audience. With that in mind, I wanted to share the latest from Open Twin Cities

Like you, we are mourning the murder of George Floyd. It was tragic, unjust, and unfortunately too common. As we see people in the Twin Cities and around the world rising up to affirm that Black lives matter, we want to find solutions to eliminate systemic racism and violence towards people of color that our society, government, and businesses have perpetuated throughout history.

Open Twin Cities believes that open source technology and open data have the power to promote change in our communities. For the past 7+ years, we have been creating spaces and places for civic technologists to engage in dialogue and design solutions to improve our communities. Open Twin Cities centers the community and its members, co-creating in partnership and within the community. We are leveraging our skills and experience to support and sustain the Black Lives Matter movement.

We are not alone. As part of the Code for America Brigade Network, we are engaged in a nationwide network of civic technologists who share similar passions and concerns. Please see this statement from Code for America’s CEO.

We ask you to join us in this work.

How can open source tech and open data projects support this movement, both immediately and for long-term change? Here are ways to support and get involved:

  • Work on a project: We have a few projects and ideas in progress. For example, currently in development and in use is the Twin Cities Mutual Aid map, a web app sharing up-to-date information about where to offer and find mutual aid locally. The data collection and mapping project was started by community members (www.tcmap.org) during the recent uprisings, and civic hackers quickly joined them to build a mapping app with the support of the Open Twin Cities community. You can view and use the map here, and check out the project on GitHub to submit issues and ideas for new features.
  • Submit an idea for a project: Join the Open Twin Cities Slack to see, share, and support ideas. See an emerging need for civic technology? Share your idea to the #project-ideas channel.
  • Attend meet-ups: We hold meet-ups twice a month to give you a chance to connect with others engaged in civic technology work.
  • Participate in Code Switch, our annual hackathon co-organized with Techquity and Software for Good. We are redesigning our annual hackathon and will launch a digital platform on July 4, 2020 where you can submit your ideas, form a team, and work on your projects. Teams will have July and August to work on their projects. On September 12, 2020, the National Day of Civic Hacking, we will convene a conversation with local social and economic justice leaders in the Twin Cities to learn more ways to disrupt inequity and combat racism and injustice. We will also celebrate and award resources for support to top projects.
  • Join our book club. Civic tech isn’t just about data, coding, and designing. A major part of our work as civic technologists and engaged community members is educating ourselves about issues and opportunities in the communities where we live. Join us to read and discuss:

The Black and the Blue – Saturday, August 8, 2pm (virtual)
Race After Technology – Date & details TBD

This entry was posted in Government, MN, Opportunities by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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