The_Message: February 2023

Hello everyone, we present to you the February edition of our monthly newsletter! Read up and be sure to subscribe for future editions. Also, feel free to share your events, announcements, and anything else that’s happening. Take care and see you next month!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Happy Black History Month! We hope you feel especially loved and cared for — not just yesterday, but everyday.

February and March are always a point of reflection as we prepare for NYC School of Data, and just as we grow our own relationships, there is an inflection point with civic engagement nationally. Code for America announced it is once again rethinking its brigade program — from our point of view, this is the end of the Brigade program that brought so many of us together. Despite this sad development, we are staying strong in knowing that civic technology in NYC is not going anywhere.

Recently, our ninth cohort of Civic Innovation Fellows began their spring semester. They’ll be out in North Brooklyn, leveraging OpenStreetMap (OSM) to document inequities in the public realm with Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez and North Brooklyn Parks Alliance. Throughout the NINE years of the Fellowship program, we’ve trained 85 Fellows!

Witnessing the next emerging generation of community mappers gives us great excitement for this year’s NYC School of Data. This is your final chance to grab early bird tickets, they close THIS TUESDAY at 12pm. We look forward to seeing many of your faces, whether in person or virtually at NYC Open Data Week!   

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Early bird gets the worm: The deadline to grab early bird tickets for NYC School of Data has been extended to Tuesday February 21 at 12pm — we won’t extend it again.
  • Call for Volunteers at NYC School of Data! We’re seeking people who want to help us run NYC School of Data. Join us for a fun and informative day! Learn more and apply by February 27.
  • Be among the first to know NYC Open Data Week’s program! Sign up for announcements for the latest. 
  • Community board applications are due TOMORROW for Queens and on March 3 for the Bronx
  • We’re paying tribute to Black STEM pioneers for Black History Month. Check out the section below!

See you in March for NYC Open Data Week and NYC School of Data!

— BetaNYC

Celebrating Black History 🫶 

In honor of Black History Month, let’s shine the spotlight on these amazing trailblazers in STEM.

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson was the first Black woman to earn a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was also pivotal in the inventions of the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cells, fiber optic cables, and the technology behind caller ID and call waiting.    

Lewis Howard Latimer played a significant role in the telephone’s development, improved the production of carbon filament and was crucial to the commercialization of the incandescent light bulb. Also, you can visit the Lewis Latimer House Museum, a landmarked home, in Flushing, Queens!     Dr. Gladys West played a crucial role in the development of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Thanks to her research on satellite geodesy, satellite measurements and computer programming, we have a model for Earth’s exact shape – a geoid.

But wait, there’s more!

Read on for recent content picks from our team and community. Share yours for next month’s newsletter.

Civic Tech and Legislation Watch 👀 

It’s crunchtime as lawmakers aim to raise the state’s minimum wage – but will the new threshold be $16.39 or $21.25?

What happened to MyCity? Last year, Mayor Adams announced a plan to implement the ‘MyCity’ universal online portal by late 2022, but it has yet to be launched. Can we expect the portal later this year? Gotham Gazette has the latest update.

The battle is on! New York state lawmakers introduced a package of bills that would restrict the use of police surveillance tools, clashing with Governor Hochul. 

The NYC Council’s Committee on Technology has an upcoming hearing on February 28 concerning film industry expansion. The recording for their hearing earlier today on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology should be available soon!

Using tech for good! In light of the slashes in tech jobs and perks, workers are flocking to start-ups that specialize in combating climate change. 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau published a report on childcare prices in relation to family income. And there were concerning results — one finding was that families in the Bronx spent an average of 47% of median family income on care for one child.

Segregation by Design unveiled an interactive map showcasing the forcible displacement of thousands of people to construct the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. 

Take a trip down memory lane and explore the history of color coding for NYC subway maps. Which map design do you prefer?

Upcoming Events 📆 

Feb 16 at 6pm Building Open Web Apps on NEAR Social

Feb 21 at 12pm Revisiting the “Future of Work”

Feb 23 at 12pm How to build stunning Data Science Web applications in Python

Feb 28 at 5pm Reimagining Public Health for NYC: A Discussion on the Racial Wealth Gap and Health Equity

Mar 11-18  NYC Open Data Week 2023 (Join us at 50+ events!)

Mar 18 at 9am NYC School of Data (Join us at our annual conference!)

April 4 at 7:30pm Who Did We Name Queens After? with Rebecca Bratspies

Announcements, Job Openings and Opportunities (Submit yours here and see our #Jobs channel in Slack for more posts.) 📢 

Keep in touch with our community! 🛸 

Like this newsletter and what we do? Donate $23 or more to our 2023 campaign and support employment opportunities for our Civic Innovation LabCivic Innovation Fellows and Apprentices to grow with us.

See you next month! Peace, openness and gratitude  🗽