Access to resources and mentorship, voter participation, integration of new Angelenos, and supporting local entrepreneurs were just a few of the many issues explored at the #ImmigrationHack held on July 19. Over 100 designers, programmers, activists, policy wonks, students, and citizens at large gathered at the LA Central Public Library to address some of the most pressing challenges around immigration reform in Los Angeles.
To kick off the event, participants heard from various community partners, including City Librarian John Szabo, Kat Karimi from Civic Innovation Lab, Catherine Lyons from FWD.Us, and the LA Mayor’s Office, including Mayor Eric Garcetti himself. Speeches characterized themes of creating sustainable opportunities, utilizing technology, and spurring innovation in Los Angeles.
Mayor Garcetti noted the importance of immigration from both a local and national perspective and shared the great strides Los Angeles has made in improving conditions and serving as an example for reform across the nation. He mentioned, “LA is the most diverse collection of people ever assembled in history,” and that diversity was exemplified by the audience, each with something different to contribute to the day’s events. To cater to the diverse backgrounds of the participants and offer a wide array of experiences, the afternoon was split into three tracks:
- Informational Workshops to educate about public resources available, advocacy and reform, the DACA/DAPA process, and fraud prevention.
- Social Lab, facilitated by Civic Innovation Lab, utilizing design thinking and an ideation process to collectively recognize challenges and identify solutions to issues pertaining to integration, civic participation, and the local economy.
- Hackathon where the tech community hacked away to create applications and web interfaces designed to help immigrants improve their transition and integration in Los Angeles.
Rounds of food, snacks, and caffeinated beverages were provided to fuel the day, but really it was the participants’ enthusiasm, talents, and drive for change that kept the momentum going. The final pitch session brought all three tracks back together, encouraging both tech and non-tech folks to network and collaborate on ideas. From community building toolkits and online resource portals to local business investments and simplified online DACA/DAPA systems, the participants sparked meaningful conversations, connections, and inspiration for new ideas that will resonate beyond the day. Check out #ImmigrationHack on Twitter and see the buzz for yourself!
The immigration hackathon was one of many events going on as part the Mayor’s summer-long #techLA initiative, and supporting Challenge:LA, Los Angeles’s first civic technology challenge to leverage the collective ingenuity of its citizens to solve some of our most pressing problems. This year’s topics are around transportation, community, and water conservation. We encourage all citizens to learn more here and we look forward to your submissions leading up the September 20 deadline. Winners of the challenge will have the opportunity to present at the #techLA Conference on October 10 and participate in Accelerate:LA, a four-month city accelerator program designed to encourage the sustainability of each solution and create real impact in our city.
Thank you to the Speakers:
Mayor Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles
Ana Guerrero, Chief of Staff, Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti
Abhi Nemani, Chief Data Officer, Officer of Mayor Eric Garcetti
Lilian Coral, Deputy Chief Data Officer, Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti
John Szabo, City Librarian, City of Los Angeles
Kat Karimi, Civic Innovation Lab
Catherine Lyons, FWD.us
Tiffany Panlilio, Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Enrique Gonzalez, LA Department of Consumer & Business Affairs
Alicia Moguel, Christina Young, and Edwin Rodarte, LA Public Library
Thank you to the Event Sponsors:
This event would not be possible without you all, including our supporters, participants, and volunteers!