Tag Archive: change

There’s an interesting initiative happening in a few weeks in California. An organization called Change.org is getting 50 computer programmers (it sounds more exciting to call them hackers) to spend 24 hours developing widgets and apps and all kinds of small software and other magical web things (examples below) for social good.

If you’ve ever thought: “If web browsers did ___, that would make organizing so much easier,” or “if there was a firefox extention that did ___, it would really help people think about zero waste,” you can suggest it to Hack For Change. There’s no guarantee that anyone will work on that project, but there are only 17 ideas so far (and not very many interesting ones). So if you come up with something good, someone might do it.

I haven’t come up with anything yet, but I know there are a lot of creative people on this list! Here are some of the ideas listed so far, as examples:
A Firefox extension that allows you to see the political donations of companies whose site you visit
An app that tells you the true effect/footprint of what you are about to buy (NOTE: someone’s already actually done this at http://www.goodguide.com)
A platform to connect grassroots activists to tangible, needed resources from members of the private sector who want to offer support, but dont know what to give, who to give it to, and how
Help people in developing nations to sell their products directly to the world
Make government data more accessible and actionable
The full list is here: https://hackforchange.uservoice.com/forums/113515-hack-for-change/filters/hot
If you have an idea, please add it here (feel free to email me if you want to talk about it).

Then please tell us so we can go vote for it! To vote you just have to sign up for a password, and then you have 10 votes to distribute to your favorite ideas.

Article from http://mashable.com/2011/05/25/hack-for-change/
Can 50 Hackers Help Save the World in One Day?

Online activism platform Change.org is hosting a hackathon called Hack for Change, designed to get engineers coding quickly for social good.
Change.org will pick 50 engineers from a list of applicants and throw them into a programming blitz at its San Francisco headquarters. The goal is to get coders, designers and other creative types to start applying their talents to the non-profit and social good sector. While other hackathons have tried to get its talent to think like programmers, Hack for Change is trying to convince programmers to work for social good.

“The smartest people in the world are focused on problems that don’t really matter,” says Ben Rattray, founder of Change.org. “What we want to do is dedicate the time, effort and energy of those people to important issues.”

The event’s rules are simple, if a little vague: “You can create any feature or app that does good.” Participants can hack using any languages or available APIs and must post their code to GitHub. They can hack individually or in teams but teams still must apply — and be accepted — individually. That kind of openness will hopefully inspire off-the-wall ideas thanks to unexpected pairings (not to mention lack of sleep).

Spanning just one weekend, the programming starts June 18 at noon and ends 24 hours later. The finished products will then be presented to the attendees, invited media and judges.

There will be prizes, but that’s not really the point. Hack for Change is aimed at introducing a new community of talent to the non-profit world. Rattray and his team are trying to make the transition as easy as possible by giving social good greenhorns a slew of ideas to get their fingers moving. The conference will start with presentations by non-profits and conscientious companies offering their APIs. There is also a forum where anyone can suggest issues that need fixing.

Change.org is offering $10,000 of its own cash as seed money — $5,000 of which will go to the top project, with the rest to be divvied up amongst the top picks. The hackathon isn’t intended as a one-off; Rattray hopes to make it a regular event. “We want to create a very clear path by which engineers and designers can find full time work in the social change sector,” he says.

What do you think about a hackathon for change? Are designers, programmers and hackers the next wave of talent to revolutionize social good? Let us know in the comments.

Disclosure: Mashable is a media partner of Hack for Change.

(This appeared as a comment by Ritch on my last post. It deserves to be highlighted as a guest post.)

The events at the G20 demonstration on Saturday have provoked a series of responses already. This article is not meant to review the events of the day itself but to look at the questions raised by the demonstrations.

Suffice to say the reaction of the police in arresting, detaining, and brutalizing nearly 1,000 people in the largest mass arrests in Canadian history exposes the serious attacks on civil liberties we face.

On Friday before the demonstration I was having a beer with a comrade in Halifax and of course discussion turned to the G20, we both agreed that this would be the perfect demonstration to go off without any property damage. If at the end of the day tens of thousands marched, thousands did sit-ins by the fence but the tactic of smashing windows was not employed then the summit would be a defeat for Harper.

We drew this analysis based on the fact that every where you went there was anger at the billion dollar price tag for security. At a time when thousands are struggling to make ends meet and see the cost of the Summits as exorbitant. Many, consciously or not, recognize that this money is being spent to the architects of the crisis; protecting those who gave billions to the bank while leaving workers and the poor to pay for it. Furthermore, in the lead-up, there was a growing polarisation with many being angry or frustrated with Harper’s attacks on civil liberties, on women’s rights, on the climate, on the economy, and more.

To have had a day of mass demonstrations and militant but non- violent action would have left Harper with egg on his face and given more confidence to those want to find ways to challenge Harper and the market.

Instead, the day went just like clock work—much like other summits. There’s a mass demonstration. A layer of people do a split from that march and then some engage in expressing their rage against the system by smashing windows and other acts. Given the world we live in, it is surprising that more of this doesn’t happen more often.

In response, the police hold back until the main march disperses. They wait for some damage to be done, and then they go on the offensive. They round-up and brutalize everyone left on the streets, including passers-by, peaceful protesters and those engaged in property damage. In Seattle, Quebec, Genoa, etc. this script has played out over and over again. The police wait until the mass organisations leave, then go after the rest. This strategy suggests that the police and the state are keenly aware of who they want—and don’t want—to provoke.

Within this the “black bloc” and their supporters utilise the larger rally and split marches to launch attacks on property and the police. Usually the police wait long enough for damage to be created before they respond. In these situations it is one of the few times the police wait to crack down. Continue reading

Young Feminist Picnic G20

The picnic in Allan Gardens is great. over 1000 people are here. we are demanding that the G20 address the issues that real citizens demand. Labour, Social justice and poverty activists are here at Allan Gardens. Join us all day long as we build momentum into this weekend. The Group is sitting peacefully on the grass. We will begin a march through the city streets later today.

We are ready!! Why are you hiding?

Well, so there is a lot of public eyes waking up and seeing the big picture of what’s happening. Thousands of the most progressive, active workers in Ontario will converge on queens park for the beginning of the biggest fightback on the ideologys of the right since 1947… Stay tuned!!! I can assure that waking the sleeping giants (workers) is what we needed.

You make your profits off our labour, sweat and sacrifices! We didn’t cause this crisis, we won’t stand to be your excuse for your greedy ideas!!