A Declaration to Myself and Civic Tech

When I started The Civic Tech Collective as a blog on WordPress, it was with the intention of building a mega-resource of ALL THINGS civic technology, from the latest news about little-known founders using technology to generate positive impact in their community, to creating a portal of resources—boot camps, funding, university-level programs—for anyone embarking on the journey of being a social entrepreneur.

While it has been rewarding to take on the task of raising awareness about civic tech founders and their efforts, I’ll be making a pivot to build upon my work.

I am proud to have bridged the Black community to the world of big tech through Chi Hack Night’s Black History Month series featuring UI Labs, and Greater Englewood CDC.  

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Even more exciting was serving as a panelist with other powerhouse women in tech at the 2018 Black Women’s Expo.

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I even had the honor of being a sponsor and speaker for the 2018 Design for American (DFA) Leadership Summit at Northwestern University.  

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Now, however, it is time to grow my charter.

The plan to raise awareness and be a resource to my fellow social entrepreneurs is still in motion. But the focus on who I am highlighting will change.

Despite tweets and personal accounts of Black founders who have been successfully funded, many others have not. Along with a lack of funding is a lack of resources to market and tell the stories of people who are using technology for good.

There are many definitions of civic tech. My interpretation focuses on the doers and the value they are working tirelessly to bring to this world through technology.

As a black woman, I know how it feels to be counted out, overlooked, and undervalued. As an entrepreneur, I pour myself into my work, not only because that’s the only way I will turn a profit, but because I love what I do and don’t plan on allowing anyone to diminish me or my hard work any time soon…

With that said, I have come to terms with the fact that I am not here to make everyone happy. If my life has taught me one thing so far, it is that I have a passion for uplifting the black community—specifically black girls and women. However, it is my hope and personal mission to be a light and resource for my community and to counter the negative images of black women that have been perpetuated for far too long.

Through the Civic Tech Collective and my weekly tech update—The Reboot—I will be providing coverage of the great work, black men and women are doing in the Civic Tech space and beyond.

This is not an indictment on anything or anyone I have encountered or met along the way. It is a declaration to myself, who I am, what I stand for, and how I plan to utilize media as a catalyst for change.

In the coming months, there will be some changes to what I have been sharing on the @civictechco platforms. If you know a social entrepreneur using tech for good, I encourage you to have them email me directly at monique@civictechcollective.org to tell me more about their tech-enabled project, company or product, and how it is affecting change. I want to tell their story!

Thank you to every single person that encouraged me to (not delete the website lol) and continue on my journey as a black woman in media and technology.

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