Senator James Eldridge (D-Acton) was the only lawmaker in the U.S. who answered the presidential challenge to be an “Open Government and Civic Hacking” champion of change. Late last week, he and others were recognized at the White House in a day-long event with presenters from all across the country who submitted projects using computer software and publicly available data to solve problems in our states, cities, towns or neighborhoods.
In a phone interview, Eldridge mentioned how he was inspired by the projects he saw in Washington. “After the Mother’s Day homicides in New Orleans,” said Eldridge, “one civic hacker came up with the idea to match clergy and professional mediators with gang leaders and/or known people with criminal justice history”—all who voluntarily submitted their names. This could be groundbreaking for the city. Eldridge pointed out that if an act of violence happened or was about to happen, a community activist could then immediately be on hand to de-escalate the situation.
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(First published on Boston Magazine and used here by permission)