Do not, I repeat, do not let the word “hack” get under your skin. I’ve already witnessed that happening when I even say the word as I tell people about this upcoming, first of its kind event – and an event that is incredibly needed in our community.
But seriously – don’t. “Hack” in this sense is the best MacGyverish image you can imagine: taking things you might never put together and coming up with a unique and actual, working solution to some problem that otherwise seemed intractable.
We’re Hack Cleveland – a group of community advocates who want to increase civic engagement in our city. In the face of Cleveland’s consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice and multiple allegations of excessive force by police, we and other American cities find ourselves at a crossroads. Do we continue on our current path or choose accountability and transparency in government?
HackCLE believes the choice is clear. That’s why we’re hosting Fix 216, a civic hackathon where participants use community knowledge, technology and design to make our region stronger.
Who is Hack Cleveland? Several people who are already engaged in the Cleveland and Northeast Ohio public sector: Bishara Addison, Dan Brown, Erika Anthony, Evelyn Burnett, Justin Bibb, Maura Garven, Maurice Wingfield, Mordecai Cargill, Nicole Thomas, and Seth Pinckney.
They’re interested in both including and not excluding, and to that end, we’ve offered up numerous contacts for outreach to help spread the word. But you can help too. Sign up for email, register for the event, read and share the Fix 216 Facebook page, follow Hack Cleveland on Twitter.
The notion of hacking together a solution to a problem is old, old, old. The idea of using people to power it is also not new. Even the use of data to get to the solution doesn’t require a history course to know that numbers help us figure out how to get things done. But mining data created by us, that we either have access to now or should have access to is something that has not been performed on a regular basis by community residents, even though increasingly the tools are there to do this. I look at events like Fix 216 and that’s what I imagine comes together – the people, the data, the problems, the tools and most importantly, the solutions.
Hope to see you May 29 and 30th.