Online technology for youth organizing

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  • Sergio, Center for Regional Change @ UC Davis
  • Josh Levinger, tech strategist & developer
  • Dorion, mobile app developer,
  • Gina, Unfold
  • Ron Collins, Labor Community Strategies Center
  • Joevonte, Black Organizing Project
  • Yuritzy Gomez, CCISCO


Sergio: young people have created their own campaigns but not as much use of technology to amplify their voices want to change from university perspective to fit community needs

Dorion: active in community watch initiatives, lack of access for young people digital divide still very real our communities doing training to build mobile apps, job training skills need to develop talent locally, reinvest in youth build networks, connections between individuals to counter negative perceptions

Ron: access may not entirely be the issue (lots of kids on facebook) more engagement, mobilize people (online to offline) how do you talk about "school to prison pipeline" in a way that's engaging, not depressing want to get bodies out of social media, make it a viable organizing tool 1500 followers on facebook, not one person comes out to an event

Topics Discussed

need to engage members, not just as consumers / followers

Example: mobilization for a public hearing - bus riders union. rsvps work, but likes don't. facebook posts about events not sharing well.

is there a good way of learning about your members, following up with them individually? - Crowdbooster works with facebook / twitter

match sms blasts with actions some cost, but cheaper tools like

how to boost engagement? don't want to always post cats

follow historical practices ask what the people want, engage their interests, weave your message in have the folks who are most affected lead the issue

how to deal with personal safety, before technology armed police, guns in schools strength in numbers, ensure police are accountable panthers provided free training, hospitals, food capitalism is the root problem

do police communicate with kids in schools? created complaint policy to deal with problem officers but ended up with kids bringing their own guns

student, parent, officer sit down with principal talk through altercation, hear their voice restorative justice

why do some kids become involved in gangs? dialogue with leaders, find points of intervention

data that police officers in schools decreased violence need to flip it around, prove that they don't need to be there any more police don't live in the communities they patrol, lack local sensitivity restorative justice can lead to bigger drop in violence than just adding more police

do you capture altercations on film? not sure that's legal... check out

pure data doesn't always tell the truth analysis can have a narrative

matters who is producing the data, who is using it university label can validate community stories co-design of tools with communities

need to ensure that tools don't buy into existing (capitalist) structure apps can be accessible outside of iphone / android don't exclude low-income communities

myth of widespread penetration of social media want to organize against the system, should we use their tools to do it? focus on more peer to peer systems (email, sms, in person organizing) don't pay facebook to reach their own members

don't want to repeat practices that we know don't win