Civic engagement is a central tenet to building a community where everyone has a stake in the outcomes. Access to data and understanding how to interpret it is critical to finding new ways to solve many of the old problems that are leaving many communities behind in the tech revolution.
During the 20th Century, Sumner Redstone coined the phrase, “Content is king.” The phrase explained the accepted norm for how to reach an audience or impact change. In the 21st century, technology is impacting the marketplace in profound ways. It is data collected by technology that drives and shapes the way stories are told. It is mobile technology in particular that is aggregating a massive amount of data that connects people and communities in an “always on” world.
Access to mobile devices is providing a voice to citizens in innovative ways to the degree that now the fight for civil rights is happening on the digital frontier. In October 2015, the Congressional Black Caucus published data indicating a variety of “demographic divides,” unemployment, median income, net worth, education attainment, poverty, and incarceration. Using a data-driven approach in closing “all gaps,” public and private stakeholders have an opportunity to implement policies that reflect the real needs of the community. A data-driven approach will increase engagement of citizens and ensure that our civil rights stay protected.
At the core of Silicon Harlem’s mission is to envision a future that is more equitable, healthy, educated, fair and economically vibrant. Some simple examples of how data can drive civil rights and civil engagement include:
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it.” Using data to expand civic engagement and civil rights will lead to more opportunities for citizens to increase skills, solve problems, and prepare the next generation of community leaders. Our BOLD statement is: “Data is king!”
We are proud to be associated with BOLD and look forward to an open and ongoing dialogue that highlights how a hub of technology, innovation and data creates the economic engine of the 21st century. Carrie Sheffield and her team are to be commended for taking the BOLD step towards building intelligent communities through access and exposure to information.
About Silicon Harlem:
Silicon Harlem is focused and determined to accelerate the development of the innovation economy in Upper Manhattan and transform Harlem into a Technology and Innovation Hub. Harlem has a need for a hyper-connected business ecosystem that embraces the innovation economy and where workers are trained for 21st century jobs and students are educated in STEM related fields. It is vital to reshape the Harlem economy around digital innovation and entrepreneurship. Silicon Harlem advocates for affordable gigabit broadband infrastructure for Upper Manhattan, provides a summer STEM academy for young people, advises over 15 startups on best business practices, interacts with the policy makers, and provides technical and digital media consulting services nationwide.