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  • Code for San Francisco

Community Forum - Week 1

Updated: May 26, 2020

A word cloud with some friendly governmenty words

We at Code for San Francisco have one goal: to positively impact our community by means of the skills at our disposal, which for many of us means leveraging various technologies to meet a community need. This goal can be often distilled into two words: civic tech. And here in the Bay Area we have at our disposal a seemingly endless supply of technologists: developers, designers, data scientists, product managers, and many many more. I think in our city, as a collective community dedicated to civic tech, we do not have a lack of engagement on the latter half of that phrase. The former half, however, the civic in civic tech, is the real tricky part to get right. If the past election has taught us nothing, it has taught us that civic engagement with our communities is not something that can be underestimated nor ignored.

Toward that end, the leadership team at Code for San Francisco has decided to pilot a new section of our hack night: The Weekly Community Forum. Inspired by our sister brigade in Chicago, Chi Hack Night and their Community feedback session held last week, this guided brainstorming session, recurring every Wednesday, is designed to help our volunteers learn and target the specific civic needs of our unique community. One civic-centric question is asked every week, and answers are solicited from our attendees, written anonymously on post-it notes, and collected for review and discussion. It not only helps us as a leadership team to target the focused of our members, but it helps us all get out of it normal routine and into the #civictech mindset for the evening.

We ran this for the first time last Wednesday with encouraging results. The question posed received a lot of diverse responses, and showed a lot how our members are feeling right now. We’ll be changing these questions every week, each building on the last, to help inform our technology decisions.

So without further ado, I give you this week’s responses.

This week’s question

How are you feeling about your community and government right now?


The general feeling that came out of these responses was a feeling if fear and uncertainty with our government and community on a national level. We also received a lot of positive responses about our state and local government.

Raw Responses
  • The government is not working for the people at the federal level

  • Government: fear and loathing, Community: hopeful, please

  • SF is great

  • Tenderloin is stinky

  • This government does not represent the interests of the diverse community, only a reactionary subset of the people

  • Inspired by my community and disappointed in my government

  • Bad

  • Disjointed. I feel that unlike prior movements the current one for change has little direction. There are many heads but no clear voice

  • I feel disconnected from my community due to being so busy with work

  • Devastated. Betrayed. Determined to fight.

  • Locally, I am proud of our city and state government. But dismayed by the recent changes to our federal government and baffled by the choices of 60 million voters

  • Scared for good people who are actually a net gain to the USA

  • Scared

  • White people are the worst

  • I feel disenfranchised by my government as an academic and I feel disappointed in how unsafe my community is getting

  • Meh

  • Local level = {heart emoji} {star emoji} - Federal = {sad face emoji} {angry face emoji}

  • Terrified, want to flee, etc. {sad face emoji}

  • City government is slow

  • Disappointed

  • Wait and see

  • Community good, no complaints, well run – Government, terrified

  • Feeling alright!

  • Feel like more can be done to make it efficient to work for people

  • Great!! We’re gonna have a real man in the White House

  • Again - we’re gonna get our country back!!

Where to go from here?

This week we’ll be discussing a new question based off the previous: There is a lot of anger and resentment in our community and America today. How can we as a community of civic technologists direct it towards positive action? Stay tuned for more updates as the forum progresses!

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