On May 16, once again, thousands of Chicagoans held civic and community conversations while breaking bread with old friends and new. The Chicago Community Trust’s On the Table is an annual forum designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships and inspire collaborative action across the region. I now officially declare the Chicago Community Trust’s On the Table program to be an official phenomenon.
phenomena (plural noun)
- a remarkable person, thing, or event.
synonyms: marvel · sensation · wonder · prodigy · miracle · rarity · nonpareil ·
Microsoft was again honored to both host and attend several On the Table programs, each one focused on Civic Tech and Civic Engagement, with a different dialog and audience. We began the day by hosting a research readout and panel with mySociety addressing New findings: What We’ve Learned About Civic Tech in Cities. Specifically, mySociety has researched five case studies of civic tech projects deployed by U.S. cities in recent years and found implications for broader changes to service delivery. Nearly 50 attendees joined our table to hear more details from the study’s authors, as well as national leaders in municipal civic tech. Once the panel finished their remarks, the audience contributed their experience to an actionable conversation. We’d like to thank the following for traveling to Chicago to join our On the Table program:
- Moderator, Emily Shaw, Senior Implementation Advisor at the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University
- Richa Agarwal, Software developer, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and former Code for America fellow
- Demond Drummer, CoderSpace
- Rebecca Rumbul, Director of Research, mySociety
For more information on the mySociety’s research on Civic Tech in Cities, please see the complete research.
With a minor pause in the late morning, we then had the pleasure of hosting the ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Chicago team for a more intimate, roundtable discussion. This On the Table was also held at the Microsoft Technology Center and co-hosted by Steve Solomon of Exelon and Commissioner Karen Tamley. Our goal was to broaden the awareness about this cutting edge program that is building a network of leaders with disabilities and adding a new dimension of diversity to Chicago’s civic life: ADA 25 Advancing Leadership. ADA 25 Advancing Leadership is the first program of its kind in the nation designed specifically to ensure that Chicago’s vibrant civic and professional life fully includes leaders with disabilities. The continuous work of connecting its Members network with opportunities to serve as leaders is known as the Civic Connections Project. At our lunch, we brainstormed opportunities to connect our members into civic positions ranging from committees, task forces, associates boards, boards of directors and more.
To learn more about the program, I invite you to visit their website and watch this short video capturing the importance of this initiative through the lens of it participants.
If you are interested in learning more about ADA 25 Advancing Leadership on a regular basis, please join our Facebook pages.
The final On the Table of this very busy day was hosted by Denise Linn and Sonja Marziano of Smart Chicago and Connect Chicago. Since the launch of On the Table, participants have indicated that equity and social inclusion were among the most frequent topics of discussion at the events they attended.
So, this year, organizers suggested that equity be part of these conversations. Because equity is at the heart of our collective work, The Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning, The Hive Chicago Learning Network and the Smart Chicago Collaborative joined together to host a “multi-table” event focusing on Digital Equity in Education. Youth Digital Equity is the social-justice goal of ensuring that all young people have equal access and opportunities to use technology tools, computers and the Internet as well as the knowledge and skills to use them effectively. The aim is to bring new and different voices to the table, while having a fun, easy conversation with great food! The evening event was held at Northeastern Center for College Access and Success at 770 North Halsted. What an amazing resource and facility! The space was overflowing and the organizers wildly exceeded their target.
Congratulations to the Chicago Community Trust for their inspirational On the Table Program that is now a phenomenon in the region. And a special thank you to mySociety, ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, the Hive Chicago Fund, the Hive Chicago Learning Network and the Smart Chicago Collaborative, for the great dedication and work you do every day to make Chicagoland a center for innovation, digital equity and collaboration.
Tags: #OnTheTable2017, ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, ADA 25 Chicago, Adam Hecktman, CCT, Center for Government Excellence at John Hopkins University, Chicago, Chicago On The Table, Chicagoland, Civic Connections, Civic Engagement, Civic Tech, Civic Tech Cities, Code for America, CoderSpace, Connect Chicago, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Demond Drummer, Denise Linn, digital equity, Emily Shaw, Exelon, Hive Chicago, Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning, Illinois Science and Technology Institute, Karen Tamley, Kevin Wei, Microsoft, Microsoft Chicago, Microsoft Technology Center, mysociety, Northeastern Center for College Access and Success, On the Table, Rebecca Rumbul, Richa Agarwal, Shelley Stern, Shelley Stern Grach, Smart Chicago, Smart Chicago Collaborative, Sonja Marziano, Steve Solomon, The Chicago Community Trust, The Hive Chicago Learning Network, What We've Learned About Civic Tech in Cities