Wednesday, September 15th
As the summer winds down, we want to take the time to reflect on the past month and the importance of the upcoming year. So much has happened around the world and in our city since our last newsletter. With Hurricane Ida, a new school year, the end of the war in Afghanistan, a new Governor, the anniversary of September 11th and upcoming elections, we have certainly had a lot to process… and a lot to work on.
Hurricane Ida was the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy. We lost 13 of our fellow New Yorkers - 11 of them were from basement apartments that experienced flash flooding. We cannot let these tragedies be in vain. We need to make decisions now to create infrastructure that protects residents against future storms. Climate change is here and is not going away. It is also important to note this event coincided with a new school year, and has caused many hardships in our communities that will last a long time. If you’re able, please consider donating to the American Red Cross to help the victims of Hurricane Ida and reach out to local mutual aid groups in your community to learn how else you can help. Another useful resource is the Department of City Planning’s NYC Flood Hazard Mapper, which lets you explore coastal flood hazards by NYC addresses. If you are in NYC and need assistance check out NYC’s Post-Storm Resources. We send our condolences to the families, friends and loved ones in New York City, the tri-state area, Louisiana, the Gulf Coast and elsewhere impacted by the storm.
With Hurricane Ida also came the end of the war in Afghanistan and an entire generation has grown up with war being normalized. How does that impact the future? How will we use our power to be sure history is accounted for and accessible to all? Twenty years ago on September 11th, our lives changed forever and in an act of symmetry, COVID19 has impacted our world. We face a new reality and a new “normal”. Considering how we responded twenty years ago, how would you like to re-emerge today? Today’s grievances present an opportunity to listen more, make decisions together and take actions to shape a better society for everyone.
At the state level, we welcomed Kathy Hochul, New York’s first female governor, last month. Although we are saddened history was made by disgraceful acts, we welcome the Governor and look forward to how she will transition New York with us into the next era. There is a lot more history to be made in New York! When the clock strikes twelve on December 31st, we will have entirely new leadership in nearly all parts of city government. Midterm and gubernatorial elections, both of which will have massive impacts on our city, will take place next year. Keep your eyes on the races! Elections are our opportunity to bring new perspectives to the table and make our society more equitable and representative of all.
With change on the horizon, we hope our fellow New Yorkers are more willing and excited than ever to participate in shaping the future. With that assumption, over the next two months, we are running The Peoples’ Tech Assemblies, a joint-effort led by The New York City Office of the Public Advocate, The Office of the Manhattan Borough President, BetaNYC, New America’s Public Interest Technology team, the Urban Tech Hub at the Jacobs Cornell-Technion Institute, the College of Staten Island, CivStart and a collection of individual advisers and facilitators. Through it we are gathering your perspectives, views and opinions about how the City of New York (our government) uses technology to serve the public and govern into the future. NYC residents! We invite you to share how technology plays a role in your daily life as you live, work and play in our five boroughs and ideas for how your community could be best served. By using multiple formats and engaging many organizations, we hope this process is inclusive to anyone who wants to participate and the information collected is available to all. Furthermore, we hope to pave a path for your voices and your insight to more easily reach the tables of citywide decision-makers in a more transparent and accountable way. We would be delighted if you would follow along and participate at https://peoplestech.nyc.
The topics discussed here are overwhelming for such a short period of time, and we acknowledge that they deserve more airtime with deeper conversations. Nonetheless, we keep them in mind and not on the sidelines. We wish you a Fall filled with happiness; we miss you all dearly and hope to see you soon.
With hope and gratitude,
Gabby & Kate