What a year! 2019 stands as one of the most exciting and impactful years for DCTP.
It has been incredibly encouraging and nourishing to see growing appetites for our work here in Detroit and the heightened focus on building new worlds with digital equity and consent. Reflecting on our growth and everything that has moved us to this point, a major shift for DCTP this year was founder Diana Nucera transitioning from DCTP Director to pursue a new chapter. We are grateful for Diana’s legacy of commitment to community technology, imagination for alternative digital futures, and collaborations that created such works as the Digital Stewards Curriculum and the “Teaching Community Technology” handbook.
As you will see in the updates below, DCTP is moving full steam ahead into a new chapter in 2020. We are moving rooted in the desire to foster community connection, author our own narratives, build community capacity, and keep each other safe. Katie Hearn, long-time collaborator and member of the DCTP network, leads the organization as Director, alongside program directors Janice Gates and Tawana Petty. Our team expanded further, with Leon Hister joining us to support with administration and communications.
We are excited to share more about our leadership team in the coming months and to continue growing the global community that helps make community technology possible in all its forms. Thank you for your support and energy every year. Here’s to 2020!
The struggle against Project Green Light surveillance and facial recognition technology (FRT) came to a critical point in an action-packed year for DCTP’s Data Justice program. Director of Data Justice, Tawana Petty, sat in on countless Board of Police Commissioners meetings, town halls, and teach-ins, and consulted on several bills proposing bans and moratoriums on police use of facial recognition technology. Our continued coalition efforts to end mass surveillance and cultivate a truer sense of community safety have secured multiple amendments to the Detroit Police Department’s policy directive, which prohibit real-time face surveillance and codify penalties for officers who abuse the technology.
Because of Data Justice’s tireless research, organizing, and advocacy this year, we are active contributors in shaping the justice narrative around FRT, both locally and nationally. Find our recent press here to learn more!
Moving into the new year, Data Justice is launching new and vital programming!
- Celebrating ten years of the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition and ten years of demystifying tech by co-hosting a special anniversary DiscoTech on the 14th!
- Community census education to ensure our community is able to make informed, consentful decisions on how they want to engage with the 2020 Census.
- Rolling out Consentful Tech and Digital Defense trainings for organizations and community!
- Data Justice also released a series of resources over the course of the year to demystify technology that often progresses against our interests as well make our community well versed in safety tactics.
Equitable Internet Initiative
This year, EII has been full of expansion, resiliency, and fortification. It’s exciting to announce that NEWCC will now serve folks in Highland Park! This expansion reaffirms us that creating accessible, neighborhood governed internet is needed and is growing to meet the demand. If you are a resident of North End or Highland park and want to get connected, please complete this interest form to determine your eligibility for an EII connection!
Meanwhile, the Digital Stewards have been training to make the existing networks more resilient. In November, the stewards learned how to build Portable Network Kits designed by our partner, Community Tech New York. The kits ensure that in the event of a disaster residents connected to the neighborhood network can communicate via the intranet, or local network. We are also piloting solar charging stations in EII neighborhoods to improve resiliency networks and for community members to access.
DCTP had a year full of changing, stretching, and dreaming. We are grounded more than ever in who we are and the work we want to move forward into next year and beyond. With many exciting projects empowering Detroiters, fostering community sovereignty and connection, and innovating how we use technology slated for the coming year, we hope you feel as inspired as we do and will consider donating to support our work this Giving Tuesday!