Tomorrow, I begin my next adventure: a 9-month fellowship with Code for America.
I'll be working with Multnomah County, Oregon (which includes Portland) to implement a web app that facilitates communication between victims of crime and case workers that are helping them apply for assistance from the state.
Victims assistance programs are important to help victims pay for medical bills, funerals, mental health consuling, and other expenses. This helps victims get back to a semblance of normalcy so they don't have to turn to crime or drugs. (California spends $62M annually, Oregon spends $60M.)
Becoming more political
There's a lot of unfortunate stuff happening in America right now. Xenophobia, threats to healthcare, and questionable leadership all over the place.
In my two years at Brigade, I hoped that our product would facilitate a better political climate, and this would spare me from an oblication to be politically involved outside of work. It's now becoming evident to me that this is not enough. Creating a platform and hoping for the best isn't going to help actual people, right now.
The only problem is, I don't know the best way I can help people. Hopefully, something will come of the gigantic national movements, but helping on that scale is daunting. City government, however, seems like a great scale: a large impact on residents' lives with less bureaucracy. This scale is part of what made me apply for the fellowship.
Toward the future
I'm approaching this new opportunity as my chance to become more politically engaged and hopefully use my skills to make a difference in peoples' lives. Even if it's only be a handful in Portland, you've gotta start somewhere.
And, if this is inspiring to you, Code for America is hiring!