November 5, 2020

Hello New York City (and friends near and far!)!!

This city has been my home since emigrating to the United States and although I am not a native, after ten years of bouncing around the boroughs, I consider myself a New Yorker. It is rather amusing the varied list of accomplishments that serve to assert your credibility as a New Yorker. Whether it is the amount of time you have been here, your pronunciation of local slang, or having ridden all the subway lines and the list goes on. There is so much to fall in love with in this vibrant city and I feel privileged to contribute to its continuous growth through civic tech.

Although no city is perfect and there are many challenges to overcome, especially this year, we continue to persevere and survive because within this age of information, technology and social media SO much can be accomplished. As I sit in my living room writing to you, my thoughts drift to the many like myself, those unable to vote—the people who live here who did not have the opportunity to express themselves in the election but show their support virtually, for their city, state and this country. With so many stuck at home and on their screens, civic participation seems to have exploded as a result of increased virtual communication, forcing many to interact with digital content they would not have sought out on their own. Many are realizing that they are not alone in terms of how much they know, do not know or what they should know about technology. As a consequence, we see people turning to one another to find answers, share lessons, and debate points of view. 

The collision of the pandemic, elections and virtual communication is stirring civic capabilities and pride, among those who previously might have checked out.  As such I am proud to have seen citizens take to the streets these past two weeks as they exercised their civic duty and lined up amidst the changing seasons at local poll sites to vote. Although tensions are high, as the results roll in, remember we are in this together, just as this newsletter exists, to bring communities together, fan the sparks of civic engagement and encourage collaboration and civic innovation. Whatever the outcome, we have a lot to be thankful for on the 26th and a lot of work yet to do!

Stay safe and be well, 

Onedeige James
Civic Innovation Apprentice at BetaNYC

Recent News

Oversight Hearing of Internet Master Plan and Resolution

John Paul Farmer, NYC Chief Technology Officer
Noel Hidalgo, BetaNYC
More than one and a half million New Yorkers have neither a mobile connection nor a home broadband connection. In early October, BetaNYC’s Executive Director Noel Hidalgo testified before the NYC Council regarding the Internet Master Plan. View the meeting details at
“Today, high-speed bi-directional internet is as important to New York City as the subway or electricity was in the 20th century and fresh water was in the 18th century... BetaNYC agrees that we MUST invest in this opportunity and build a public network for the 21st century and beyond." 

Talking shop at Code for America Brigade Congress.

At CFA's annual Brigade Congress in October, we ran a panel discussion with three other brigades about building capacity and city-to-city collaborations that can grow beyond the Brigade network. Presenters include Aaron Deacon (Kansas City Digital Drive), Bonnie Wolfe (Hack for LA), Gregory Johnson (Code for South Florida), and Kate Nicholson (BetaNYC). We have been meeting twice a month since January to share work and discuss our learnings, challenges, and opportunities for fundraising, collaboration, and partnerships.

Answering your questions about NYC Open Data.

Ever wonder how NYC Open Data is collected, shared, published or used? You’re not alone. A lot of people have a lot of questions about NYC Open Data. Come and learn with us. Open Data Community Hours are casual sessions open to the public where you can ask us questions, listen in and discuss answers with NYC guests. Join us at this first event with Zachary Feder from the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics and NYC Open Data Team. Please use the link to RSVP and submit any questions in advance of the event. 
  • NYC Open Data Community Hours (Virtual), November 18th at 6pm, RSVP 

Exploring tenant housing issues with open data and civictech

This past month we went on an Open Data Journey to explore housing displacement risks and tenant issues housing displacement risk and tenant issues in North Brooklyn and Queens with Council Member Reynoso and Lucy Block from Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development. 
Have you attended an Open Data Journey with us yet? It's like the Magic School Bus, but for open data and civic issues. In these virtual sessions BetaNYC apprentices and staff show you how to investigate community issues using open data and civic tech tools. In August, we looked into motor vehicle collisions around the city with Council Member Kallos; in September, we checked out noise issues with a community-led task force in Washington Heights and Inwood; and this past month, we look at displacement risks and tenant issues in North Brooklyn and Queens with Council Member Reynoso. In December, we are headed to the PARKS with Council Member Koo. Stay tuned to our Meetup page for event announcements.

What's up?

With so much content out there, it's fun to hear what people have been into lately. Here are some picks from our team and community.

Another ELECTION is brewing! Election fatigue is real but there's a mayoral race heating up in NYC. PLEASE stay tuned to 2021, NYC! Check out these recaps from the first forum via the Daily News and Politico.

In 9 days of EARLY VOTING1.1 million New Yorkers casted ballots. ::::clapclapclap

The reason why Nebraska splits its electoral votes is Ernie Chambers

El Pais shows how viruses spread in these great visualizations 

Comptroller Scott Stringer says there should be a CUNY Tech Corps to help small businesses adapt to technology and a paid internship program for CUNY students entering their final year. (We don't disagree.)

October 13th was Ada Lovelace Day, celebrating womens’ contributions in STEM. Listen to WNYC's story on Lovelace and other groundbreaking women in tech and science.

The US National Archives recently digitized a collection of 374 Treaties between Indigenous Peoples and the United States. Read more about this momentous occasion in this post by Jason Kottke

What does a trillion dollars look like? Find out via Information is Beautiful.

Relive W.E.B. Du Bois' powerful visualizations exaplaining instituionalized racism

Watchdogs thank the Office of Information Technology Services office for publishing Open NY Quarterly Reports.

A short trip back in time, DEBATE: Baldwin vs Buckley.

NYC’s Neighborhood Challenge gets re-launched

50 homeless people in Canada were given over $5,000 each. Here’s what happened next.

We love AOC and Princess Nokia in conversation as part of their Get Out The Vote Series with Fridays for Unity x Rolling Stone

📚 Books we're reading:

Blood on the Green by Jill Lepore. (Published in the print edition of the New Yorker)
Civic Dictionary by Ariana Soto
Data Feminism by Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein 
No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith

👥  Accounts we’re following

# Hashtags we're watching


📅 Upcoming events 

Nov 12 and 13 Public Interest Technology University Network Summit hosted by New America and IEEE
Nov 18 at 6pm BetaNYC Open Data Community Hours with Zachary Feder of NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics
Nov 26 Thank YOU and happy thanksgiving! 
Thru Nov: NYCC Hearings
Thru Nov: CYBER HEALING explores how Latinx and Afro-Latinx artists heal via feminine energy and the digital space

📢 Announcements and Opportunities

This space is for community announcements, job opportunities, and requests. We are here to help get your message out. To contribute to our next newsletter listings, be sure it is mission aligned and submit it here at < >. 

Nava is accepting applications until Nov 23 for its 2021 Nava Apprenticeship.
NYC[x] Innovation Fellow Apply to Cohort 2
Planned Parenthood is seeking a Director, Data Governance, Director, Database Administration, Director, Data Reporting, Associate Director, Data Reporting, and Manager, Data Analytics, FAB among many other positions.
The Door is hiring a Data Supervisor. is seeking a Deputy Director and a Program Manager.

Fun Fact of the Month: 

On November 14th, 1889, trailblazing journalist Nellie Bly put Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days to the test when she set sail from New York. She completed the challenge in a record 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds. Read more

Game board illustrating journalist Nellie Bly's circumnavigation of the globe (1889-1890), in the New York World, 26 January 1890.

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