Kyla Williams Co-Presents Today at Philanthropy Ohio’s Annual Conference

Today, Leon Wilson, CIO of the Cleveland Foundation, and I will co-present at the Philanthropy Ohio’s annual conference with a theme this year of “Philanthropy Forward” and a concentrated discussion on Digital Civic Engagement & Community-Centered Design. Philanthropy Forward ’17 is set to inform practices, strategies and goals and connect peers in the field of philanthropy. The conference will also focus on the future of philanthropy with insight into the current state of the sector – fueled by recent research – addressing transitions, change and the leadership pipeline. With several networking and roundtable discussions, attendees will discover how to shift failures to successes, effectively fund advocacy and civic engagement and hear from  exceptional leaders across the state and country.

Leon and I also presented in April 2017 at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference “Leading Together” as part of a panel discussion with: Aaron Deacon, Managing Director, Kansas City Digital Drive; Elizabeth Reynoso, Assistant Director of Public Sector Innovation, Living Cities; and Lilly Weinberg, Program Director/Community Foundations, John S. & James L. Knight Foundation on “Supporting Civic Engagement through Technology and Community-Centered Design”. After finishing that presentation we decided more collaborative sharing between cities was necessary and lead to this opportunity at Philanthropy Ohio.

Community building in the digital era requires providing a space for the public sector and local communities to interact. Building solutions with peoplenot just for them – by using community-centered design can have profound social impact. This has been central to Smart Chicago’s work and has lead to the building of processes, products, services, and other lightweight tech solutions that have been helpful.

Our presentation today has the learning objectives:

  • To introduce different models developed in communities to address civic engagement digitally
  • To encourage the consideration of embedding support for digital civic engagement into existing grantmaking & advancement efforts

You can follow the happenings of the conference on Twitter @PhilanthropyOH and @SmartChgoKyla or by using the hashtag #PhilFWD17.

SMART CHICAGO IS MOVING!!!

Good News!!! The Smart Chicago team is moving and now will be co-located with the City Digital Team at UI Labs. As such, our individual emails will be changing to:

Kyla Williams           kyla.williams@uilabs.org

Sonja Marziano       sonja.marziano@uilabs.org

Denise Linn               denise.riedl@uilabs.org

Leslie Durr                 leslie.durr@uilabs.org

Our new mailing address is 1415 N. Cherry Avenue Chicago, IL 60642 and general phone number is 312.281.6900.

Please check our website at www.smartchicagocollaborative.org or follow us on twitter @smartchicago for more updates.

We appreciate your patience during this time of transition.

The Launch of Task Force Tracker

Today marks the launch of a new project, Task Force Tracker:  “an annotated, updated and independent hub for public use that will measure the ~200 individual recommendations against existing contracts, policies, potential conflicts and public discourse; such as the Fraternal Order of Police contract, local legislation and media reports.”

This is a joint project of Smart Chicago, City Bureau, and Invisible Institute. From the Smart Chicago side, it is done through our Documenters program, which is run by Kyla Williams.

It continues the work in our justice program, where we documented the community forums held by the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force. Our basic idea was to come up with a way to number, explain, and track every recommendation from their report. “Recommendations for Reform: Restoring Trust between the Chicago Police and the Communities they Serve“. To provide context around previous attempts at change and index the barriers to implementation. To provide a space where others can contribute and we create a living corpus of knowledge about the work we share as a city.

The result, a little more than a week later, is this independent project by two of the most principled journalism outfits in the country, working to bring community voice to bear on some of the most important issues we face in this city.

One of the first speakers of the first community forums that we documented held by the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force said something that has stuck with me:

“I’m going to put it where the goats can get it — at the heart of this is racism and racist officers and their behavior.”

It stuck with me because it is such a good approach— if you want someone to hear your message, you have to put it where they are and make it easy to consume. It also stuck with me because what this resident said maps the thrust of the actual task force report, which wrote, “We arrived at this point in part because of racism.”

When there is communion— when we are all working from the same foundation, when we’re all talking, with specificity, about the same ideas and approaches— we win, together. This project, in my view, helps bring that communion.

This work was done in the context of our KCIC Deep Dive, where we are part of a Knight Foundation cohort representing a diverse set of approaches to expanding community information and increasing community engagement. 

Crowd at Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Community Meeting #2

Meeting 4: Notes from Police Accountability Meeting at Sullivan High School

The Smart Chicago Collaborative is documenting the four community forums hosted by the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force and held across the city in the month of February.

The purpose of the meetings were to provide residents the opportunity to speak or submit written comments on improving the accountability, oversight and training of Chicago’s police officers.

We sent a number of people to this fourth meeting, at Sullivan High School6631 N. Bosworth Ave.

One text documenter: see the notes here. These notes were later edited and improved by another documenter, working from the video.

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 Two videographers (Community TV Network, video here)

One photographer (Angel Rodriguez, images here)The meeting was conducted by the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, and they used a portion of the video we created to prepare and post on their Youtube page as well. 

All of this material is posted under Creative Commons 4.0 license. You are free to use it for any purpose, with attribution.

When a public meeting is ended early

Here’s links to other coverage of this meeting from the the Chicago Tribune, DNAinfo, Associated Press, and Black Youth Project 100. Aldertrack compiled a Storify aggregation of Twitter posts.

About 49 minutes into the meeting, some people approached the stage (read a complete account here on our Medium post)

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The moderator moved from the lectern to address the crowd.

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Some attendees walked onto the stage.

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Task force members and protesters then left the stage and were replaced by police officers.

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Many protesters brought in signs that were small enough to not be detected upon entering (signs were not allowed in the meeting).

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After the meeting broke up, a resident sat by the lectern.

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The protesters continued their work outside.

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Meeting 3: Notes from Police Accountability Meeting at Benito Juarez Community Academy

The Smart Chicago Collaborative is documenting the four community forums hosted by the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force and held across the city in the month of February.

The purpose of the meetings were to provide residents the opportunity to speak or submit written comments on improving the accountability, oversight and training of Chicago’s police officers.

We sent a number of people to this second meeting, at Benito Juarez Community Academy at 1450 W. Cermak Rd., Chicago, IL 60608

One text documenter: see the notes here. These notes were later edited and improved by another documenter, working from the video.

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 Two videographers (Community TV Network, video here)

One photographer (Daniel X. O’Neil, images here, download them all here in hi res). The meeting was conducted by the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, and they used the video we created to prepare and post on their Youtube page as well. 

All of this material is posted under Creative Commons 4.0 license. You are free to use it for any purpose, with attribution.

Setup for a public meeting

At Smart Chicago, we’re interested in civic engagement. That’s a phrase people toss around quite a bit, often thoughtlessly, or in abstract terms. We seek to expand the practice of civic engagement, making it more common, more civil, and capable of delivering justice.

One way we try to do that is to document with specificity modes and methods of civic engagement. That’s why we published the book, Experimental Modes of Civic Engagement in Civic Tech, and it’s why we showed up at these meetings.

Here’s a look at the setup for this particular meeting. Many of the systems (lectern, stage, moderator, etc) were shared by all of the forums.

The basic setup was a series of chairs organized in rows with a center aisle. In this instance, the meeting was held in the central auditorium of the high school.

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As usual, the CTVN apprentice was there taping the proceedings.

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All participants received a brochure as they walked in:

Police Accountability Task Force Brochure

Police Accountability Task Force Brochure 2

Plenty of space separated the audience from the stage:

 

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Tensabarriers create an aisle (also pictured is Governor Deval Patrick):

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And plenty of staff with yellow-lanyards were on hand to make the process go smoothly:

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A moderator at each meeting helped the speakers be heard. Each comment was allotted two minutes. The moderators also read the cards of people who didn’t want to speak in person.

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City Bureau was in the house.

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One aspect unique to this meeting was the addition of translators. They set up a booth in the back.

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Meeting 2: Notes from Police Accountability Forum at South Shore Cultural Center

The Smart Chicago Collaborative is documenting the four community forums hosted by the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force and held across the city in the month of February.

The purpose of the meetings were to provide residents the opportunity to speak or submit written comments on improving the accountability, oversight and training of Chicago’s police officers.

We sent a number of people to this second meeting, hosted by the Chicago Urban League at South Shore Cultural Center at  2622 W. Jackson Blvd.

One text documenters: see the notes here. These meeting notes are incomplete. If you would like to participate in Smart Chicago’s Documenter program and get paid to complete them, contact us.

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 Two videographers (Community TV Network, video here)

One photographer (Daniel X. O’Neil, images here, download them all here in hi res). The meeting was conducted by the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, and they used the video we created to prepare and post on their Youtube page as well. 

All of this material is posted under Creative Commons 4.0 license. You are free to use it for any purpose, with attribution.

On location:

One of the joys of attending community meetings in our deeply segregated city is that one gets to all sorts of new places. The South Shore Cultural Center is a brilliant place. It was built as a private club that was later made public for all. Here’s what it looks like when a former country club for the rich is pressed into service as a meeting room for all.

A winter meeting at 6PM means nighttime in Chicago:

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The location is on the lakefront. When it was built in 1905, it was a “country setting” of unimproved south lakefront property, often used for fishing and duck hunting. The Nature Sanctuary remains.

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We covered the meeting with videographers from CTVN, and news organizations covered it as well.

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Here’s a CTVN apprentice taping from the media dais in the back of the room.

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The task force members sat on a stage in the front of the ballroom.

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The tile floor has been trod by many.

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And people stepped to the lectern to speak in two-minute stints about their experiences.

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Many were dismissive of the work of the task force.

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And everything’s quiet outside.

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