I have long since tuned out the Sunday talk shows. But yesterday I tuned in to “Meet the Press” because my friend, Harvard Law Prof. Charles Ogletree, was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion on "Race and Justice in America."
With all due respect to Ogletree, black folks know Obama is not “the black president.” That said, African American voters did not turn out in record numbers in 2008 and 2012 to vote for a candidate who “happens to be black.” While they don’t want Obama to “simply focus on one issue,” they do want him to focus on issues that disproportionately impact them.
As they say, a broken clock is right twice a day. Smiley rightly noted that Presidents Lincoln, Truman and Johnson addressed the issue of race. He also noted that Obama has addressed gay marriage, an issue of importance to the LGBT community.
I think Obama should be held to the same standard of accountability as previous occupants of the Oval Office. But Smiley’s criticism that Obama “was pushed” is mindless:
He did not walk to the podium for an impromptu address to the nation; he was pushed to that podium. A week of protest outside the White House, pressure building on him inside the White House pushed him to that podium. So I'm glad he finally arrived.
Smiley fancies himself a student of history so he should be mindful of President Roosevelt’s call to action:
I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.
Gays, Hispanics, Jewish Americans and other groups “made” Obama address their concerns by staying engaged beyond Election Day. They embraced the lessons of our history and continued to “agitate, agitate.”
As for Tavis, history tells us that “smiling faces sometimes they don’t tell the truth.”
What’s Going On is a mobile web app that curates information about after-school and summer programs in Philadelphia.
While there are a number of databases that aggregate information about out-of-school-time programs, the information is not current. Parents and students are frustrated in their efforts to find safe, productive activities. The demand for academic enrichment programs will increase in the wake of the “doomsday” budget approved by the Philadelphia School Reform Commission.
In addition to the school budget crisis, Philadelphia’s digital divide is a chasm. Nearly half of Philly households do not have access to the Internet. So, many parents and students will search for safe and productive out-of-school-time activities at the public library or Keyspot public computer center. While Internet access is free, there is a time limit. Philadelphians on the wrong side of the digital divide are not free to sit there as long as it takes to find a program.
What’s Going On is at the intersection of technology, education and civic engagement. Program providers, parents and community members are invited to submit a program. The information is verified before the program is added to Wikidelphia, Philly’s local wiki.
In recognition of our efforts to promote civic engagement, the What’s Going On team has been invited to the White House to participate in the Champions of Change event which will highlight “extraordinary leaders in transformative civic hacking and civic engagement.”
The invitation reads:
On July 23, White House officials will participate in a discussion with these Champions to learn more about extraordinary individuals who are taking innovative approaches to engage citizens and communities in the practice of open government, civic participation, and civic hacking.
As a longtime champion of civic engagement, it’s an honor to be included in the mix.
To get involved with What’s Going On, contact us via email or send us a tweet.
All That Philly Jazz is a digital history project that is mapping Philadelphia’s rich jazz legacy. Most of Philly’s jazz places were lost to race riots, urban renewal and urban removal. So we are using digital platforms like Lokadot, a location-based audio platform, to bring Philly’s jazz history to life.
All That Philly Jazz is a digital history project that is mapping Philadelphia’s rich jazz legacy. Most of Philly’s jazz places were lost to race riots, urban renewal and urban removal. So we are using digital platforms like Lokadot, a location-based audio platform, to bring Philly’s jazz history to life. We begin our journey at the former home of Local 274 of the American Federation of Musicians, better known as the Clef Club.
We are harnessing technology and oral history to preserve Philly’s jazz heritage for future generations and new audiences. Jazz enthusiasts in Philly and anywhere in the world can go to http://bit.ly/MyPhillyJazz and share their stories about the jazz scene back in the day.
At last weekend’s Music Hack, a music-related hackathon, the All That Philly Jazz team, Mark Headd, Mike Lamond and the writer, developed the Philly Jazz App, an interactive map where we will tell the story of Philadelphia’s rich jazz legacy.
All That Philly Jazz is mapping historic theaters, legendary jazz clubs, Walk of Fame plaques and public murals. We will take visitors back to the days when jazz legends performed at the Uptown, the Royal, Earle and Lincoln Theaters. To contextualize the images, we will include data curated by Echo Nest and audio samples from Rdio. We’re jazzed that All That Philly Jazz won a one-year subscription to Rdio for the best hack.
Much of Philly’s jazz history has fallen victim to urban upheaval and urban removal. To preserve the history for future generations, we must tap the memories of Philadelphians and visitors. So All That Philly Jazz will be crowdsourced. We will use social media and traditional media, including community newspapers and radio, to ask folks to share their memories and photos.
We will also use technology, including Google Glass and Historypin, to breathe life into legendary jazz clubs like the Showboat, Pep’s Musical Bar, Blue Note, Up Jumped the Devil, Fantasy Lounge, and joints along 52nd Street, aka “The Strip.” Clubs like the Aqua Lounge, Billie's Boomer, Mr. Silk’s Third Base and Foo-Foo Ragan’s.
Indeed, All That Philly Jazz is at the intersection of technology, art and civic engagement. To get involved, contact us via email or Twitter: @PhillyJazzApp.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Black Women’s Roundtable will host its 2nd Annual National Women of Power Summit, “Amplifying the Voices of Women and Girls in the Digital Age.”
The summit will bring together a diverse group of women leaders and emerging leaders from across the country. On Day One, they will make the rounds of Capitol Hill and meet with members of Congress. Melanie L. Campbell, convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable and president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, said:
We’re coming together in the nation’s capitol to leverage our vote. In 2012, black women were the highest vote for President Obama and the margin of victory for many in the U.S. Congress. We want to tell our elected officials what we want, which includes ending the sequestration now and becoming a functional government working in the interest of the people.
On Day Two at the Faith and Social Justice Prayer Breakfast, I will receive the BWR Social Innovation Award.
It is an incredible honor to be recognized before a room full of fierce women. I hope you will be able to join us for a power-packed celebration of difference-makers and tree-shakers.
To register, go here. For more information, call (202) 659-4929.
It’s called the City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection) but last weekend’s Lady Hacks was for women only.
Philadelphia’s first women-only hackathon attracted 65 hackers. Tristen Hightower, an organizer of the event, said:
The point of this event is to try new things. You’re already successful. You’re here.
And while there, the ladies worked on a wide range of projects, including Hacking the Gender Gap, redesigning the website of Girls Rock Phillyto make it more teen-oriented, and developing a game to motivate girls to get interested in technology.
My team worked on a project that began at TechCamp Philadelphia, namely, how to motivate underrepresented minorities and girls to pursue STEM fields. STEM is short for science, technology, engineering and math.
The problem we addressed was the lack of a central, user-friendly website for teachers, students and parents to find free resources and tools that would expand and enhance the learning process. Right now, STEM information is buried in silos. Our solution, STEMeverywhere, will fix that.
We will curate resources for students, parents, teachers, guidance counselors and community members. The one-stop shop will feature a Teachers’ Lounge where we will aggregate content-specific instructional materials that have been peer-reviewed. We will include a real-time, fully indexed library that will be searchable by keyword.
The Students’ Hangout will promote year-round learning and engagement for our target audience of 13-to-17-year-olds. With one click, students will have access to information about internships and mentorships, learning games, contests and challenges, and online learning opportunities.
STEMeverywhere will produce interactive videos to connect students with STEM professionals who can expose them to the possibilities. We will post engaging user-generated YouTube videos tagged “STEM Rocks” or “STEMRocks.”