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Nushelle de Silva

1319 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Arthi Vezhavendan , schock.one@gmail.com , Nushelle de Silva 1319 days ago
Arthi V SoMove Discussion and Workshop
schock.one@gmail.com We kick off with a round of introductions, then Puck Lo reads to us a story about the background of SoMove. [see if this is published online somewhere?] Puck provides background re: global justice movement, indymedia, information and activism. 
Next Puck talks about the Giovanni's Room project. Giovanni's Room was a Gay bookstore in Philly. When it closed, there was little coverage of it. SoMove interviewed people about their connection to the store, and Puck plays clips of voices from this important element of queer history.
Nushelle S Resources for conducting interviews for oral history: http://www.oralhistoryforsocialchange.org/
Arthi V Group 1:  Social Media Strategies
Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are the normal platforms for media outreach.  What are other, non-conventional ways we can share these SoMove documentaries and the Infiltrated website?
  • How can we get people to respond to and react to the stories on the site?
  • Devise a social media strategy for the site.
  • How can SoMove promote the site and get users to share the stories?
Group 2:  Reading and Content Analysis
Youtube Clip:
Reading Questions:
1. Why didn't Crow report Darby to the authorities?
2. How was this story told about counter-infiltration?
3. Was this story effective in telling the story of the FBI and Brandon Darby?
4. How would you begin to re think this story in the terms of Infiltrated?
Group 3:  Similar Webpage Analysis
Compare how other similar sites share their videos and content. List the pros and cons of each site.  This will help us see what else we should include on our website and what mistakes to look out for.
1321 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Nushelle de Silva , Daniel Wang 1321 days ago
Daniel W Blog Post 10
Nushelle S Our main user story has changed over the course of the semester; right now, we are focusing on creating a  flexible and easy-to-use platform to conduct surveys, and efficiently organise that information. As such, this week we've been experimenting with different types of SMS survey tools, and created a matrix that maps what each is capable of, which has been shared with UYC.
  • Twilio: We've been getting help from Jaime from NEO on working with the code, that also draws from the code for Sean's twilio app. It's not very flexible, and one concern is that if UYC wants to make any changes, they won't be able to do so.
  • FrontlineSMS: We were able to use it successfully, but it doesn't have some of the options that we need.
  • SurveyGizmo: Survey gizmo is highly customizable for surveys, and also can send through email. Twilio integration will only allow sending the survey link through text (which using email only then, is preferred and more useful)
  • mSurvey: Suggested to us by Aditi, and we have gotten in touch with the rep.
  • SMS track: This looks like the one that is the most customizable, and the one we are moving forward with.
One issue is that we are still waiting to hear back from UYC re: a number of questions - specifically the kinds of questions UYC wants to be asked on the survey, the number of potential/estimated respondents, and when we might run a test workshop with the UYC students (however, since the idea of a student workshop has been pending for two weeks, we may have to abandon this initiative). UYC  is currently involved in working through a big charter fight in NYC, and are running four campaigns that have all moved over the past week. As such, we may have to move forward with a series of hypothetical questions, and an estimate of respondent numbers.
Daniel W Our third iteration will be designing the demo SMS-track platform. We have a demo account that allows 3 survey projects and 100 messages to be sent. So, if UYC does not get back to us in time for us to go ahead and implement a fully purchased survey plan, our project will showcase the capabilities of this messaging system as a prototype and demo this at our final project discotech.
It has been an interesting process for us working with the numerous iterations, as the initial request was to create an app and we have been trying to work with existing alternative options. As SMS surveying was one of our first design candidates, we now return back to this candidate after having investigated and worked through the feasibility and longevity of both the app idea and also website based platforms. Not many students have smartphones, specifically iphones. The purpose of an app was to collect stories through pictures and text submissions, along with providing information about "know your rights". However, considering app usage today and the youth population, over 90% of downloaded apps get opened only once. A UYC app may not guarantee longevity of use (challenges with updating, messaging, complex functionality), and students may not want an app that provides static information. In addition, picture submissions may not be the most useful since students cannot have phones in school and also the chance of taking a picture in school of a police encounter is unlikely. Regarding Vojo, the worry on UYC's end was having to manually sort through all the submissions and also the appeal of a web based platform. We also figured that providing a platform for free submissions may not guarantee the most coherent or high quality (legally usable) text. Therefore, we decided to go back to the texting idea and figured that if surveys can direct students in a more specific route in their answers and also provide response choices (free response when necessary), it would allow a more targeted "data" collection. In addition, the survey can run for an extended period of time and provide periodic texts and also reminders if they forget. The SMS survey would be customizable for questions and also the data can be directly organized from the backend platfor. Ultimately we believe the SMS survey will work well with the goals of UYC to collect data from students, but we just need to hear back
1326 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Elizabeth H Cho , Nushelle de Silva , Daniel Wang 1326 days ago
Elizabeth C UYC Project Sprint
Goals for today:
Successfully send a message with Frontline and Twilio
Nushelle S Contact Maria and confirm final iteration
Elizabeth C Flesh out survey questions
Nushelle S To think about - a page on the UYC site that talks about the campaign
1326 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Aditi Mehta , Nushelle de Silva 1326 days ago
Aditi M Week 13 
Visitors from Berkman (Paulo and Niousha ?)
  • Afro-Brazilians are actually a majority in Brazil, but politically they are a minority
  • It is actually worse than discrimination in the U.S.
  • They are using vojo.co to train young people to speak about their problems
  • Eager to understand how to use technology better
  • Came to MIT via a Fulbright fellowship and then went back to Brazil to use vojo.co
  • Newsha (sp?) is based in Colombia
  • Vojo is really getting attention in Brazil
Question: what are the biggest problems you face in implementing vojo? 
Answer: Well, these days Brazil is seen as a rich country. There is deep inequality and people rely on the government.
Paulo's Contact
Project Sprints
Urban Youth Collaborative:  Main goal of the project is to send sms surveys to students to collect data; Trying to connect data from NYC high schoolers who have a lot of contact with aggressive security.
CURE: Main goal is to humanize the sexual offender registry. Working on graphics.
Electronic Frontier Foundation: Main goal is to build surveillance self-defense website.  It is a platform that educates about malware and encryption and how-to guides. They have a lot of graphics and gifs.
ACLU - Building IMSI catchers. Made a lot of progress and working on case study tonight.
TOR/Transition House - Research portal to better understand what is happening in the field around digital stalking. Set up a meeting with Cambridge police to show them the data they are collecting to discuss improvements.
SoMove - Working on the Infiltration Project (gathering stories about activists groups infiltrated by the FBI/NSA) - creating a platform to showcase and manage these stories
DWN - Collecting stories about detention of illegal immigrants and sharing them through a site and social media strategy 
1353 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Nushelle de Silva 1353 days ago
goals: create a platform that helps UYC to use the collection of stories and data as a body of evidence backing their policy recommendations
  • Although the website seems to be the idea that can be used long term, it would be nice if DWN could hang on to some of the short term ideas as well for future use
1333 days ago
Group 1: Vojo
- Would you engage with the group regularly? Why?
Each member of the group explore and interact with one of the following websites that use Vojo
Daniel W
  • Sean suggested looking at Twilio again, he has source code from a previous twilio project. We can look at how NEO can help set up the database and maybe even heat map.
  • Many ways of input, but hard to type, students may not be coherent. Needs simpler way of sharing. 
  • Vojo doesnt give any response when you submit anything. 
  • Capacity to deal with data
Group 2: NYCLU Stop and Frisk App - Security and Sorting Info
UYC envisions the app as an inputting device, to protect the identities of students sharing their info, similar to the NYCLU stop and frisk app.
Elizabeth C ** consider downloading the stop and frisk app
- How can UYC "package" the data and stories to be visually appealing/impactful without compromising the security of the students?
Wang Y Video filming, Blurring + facial recognition
- To draw students in, should we structure the site as a series of campaigns (ask a question  or phone in with responses to a specific prompt)?
Facebook campaign with questions e.g. "what's the last time you saw..."
-Can you think of a way to strike a Vojo website/app balance?
Susanna P Simple = better 
How active are the student users?
Daniel W App: put prompts on screen rather than input manually, anonymous distort voice/picture
post incident, store video etc
private vs public info
Susanna P On the app:
Generally easy to use -- survey had too many questions? maybe? or maybe not.
Listen feature misleading
Default behavior -- record? 
Too specific -- how can it be generalized?
Option to upload video / pictures / sound recordings (in addition to taking video)
Wang Y People may just use the internal camera tool of the phone, instead of install an app.
Susanna P Instant upload +++
if adapting app to work as a post-incident reporting system (and not a during incident recording system) the app might need...
  • voice recording feature
  • front camera recording option
  • list of questions to prompt the student telling a story through front camera or voice recording+
  • would need a way to translate video/voice recordings
  • an option for storage (of recordings)
Wang Y
  • distort the voice to ensure anonymous status (can choose distortion type)
Susanna P Questions:
  • Is the primary goal to record data or to retell the stories?
schock.one@gmail.com Group 3: Crowdmap/Ushahidi
Crowdmap is a hosted platform for incident reporting. You can see a test group for UYC here:
Email                         uyctest@in.crowdmap.com
Send from your registered email address                 
SMS       +1-772-200-4233                                                 
Include *uyctest in the message.                 
schock.one@gmail.com It's built on the Ushahidi platform. They also have a mobile app for iPhone and Android:
Nushelle S Sourcemap: based on heatmapping - doesn't seem to have an option to be private?
Vojo: moderated group - not published - can contact everyone who posted
Stop and frisk: app, access to source code, where does info go?
1333 days ago
Aditi M Week 12
Presentation for UYC:
 - Ronald Reagan's administration marked the War on Drugs
 - African-Americans are ten times more likely than whites to be sent to prison for drug offenses
 - The Gun Free Schools Act - 1994
 - Columbine School Shooting - April 20, 1999 - push for zero-tolerance and the communities of color across the country saw an increase in policing
 - Increase in spending for policies that were pushing zero-tolerance
Nushelle S  - Recharacterization of student behavior
Aditi M  - Reauthorization of the ESCA - No Child Left Behind - repealed Guns Free School Act of 1994
 - Suspension rates from all students increased from 1973-2006, but African-American students the highest
 - Over 52% of suspensions were black students, when they only make up 27% of the population
 - This year, Dept. of Justice released their discipline in schools report
 -  Terrible history of police officers and community of colors in NYC - 35000 cops in schools - much less than the number of guidance counselors
Elizabeth C Increase in police presence in "most dangerous schools" instead of increase in counselors "Impact schools" that are predominantly low-income communities of color
Stop and Frisk stops at the door of a school
schock.one@gmail.com Recently a teacher in the Bronx was arrested for intervening in a fight between police officer and student inside the school.
Aditi M UYC Goals:
Elizabeth C Restorative justice: Healing communities, talking about schools as communities
Working on changing the MOU
Over 1700 schools, largest school district
Parents say "remove bad kid from community so my kid can learn" - but educators and legislators should be held accountable
More emphasis in criminalization of students than development
Aditi M Question: Can you talk about what friends and allies you help shape the issue in DeBlasio's campaign?
Becky H A: DeBlasio publicly committed to eliminating some things including suspensions for willful denial (?), where we saw racial disparity very clearly. The new head of the department of education announced that she will be looking at the racial disparities in push out and discipline.
It's been harder to work on our MOU campaign because the city is not ready to talk about removing NYPD from schools, even limiting the NYPD in schools. There's still a narrative that the streets are dangerous, schools are dangerous, black and brown kids are dangerous.
June, the public process starts for changing the discipline code and in Aug it will be finished. We're more hopeful for that piece than the youth piece.
Aditi M Question: Are students taught to do something specific if the police are after them or are unjustly harassing them?
Becky H A: Where you can record a stop and frisk and police in the street, young people don't have access to that in the schools. Right now, if there is harassment from a safety officer in the schools, you have to report to internal affairs in the NYPD. We don't want it to work that way. We see that young people who do report, or parents who report for their students get a lot of backlash from officers. The most that has happened to a safety officer is that they get moved to another school.
They want it to be a third party, not cops holding cops accountable, for real, does not happen.
schock.one@gmail.com Principles have no control over hiring or firing school safety, instead that happens through police academy.
They do know your rights training, but in the middle of a conflict, that may not matter: if the officer ignores it.
Question (Sean): the heightening of security in schools is a national issue, do you work with groups like yours in other cities?
A: We're part of the national Alliance for Educational Justice. There are 27 organizations, we're always growing. NYC, Philly, Boston, Denver, Oakland, LA, Wichita, Chicago. A lot of powerful youth organizations across the country. We joined AEJ b/c of federal trend, and also b/c NCLB was going to be reauthorized. We have national demands around school safety, redistributing funds for counselors as opposed to cops, eliminating out of school suspension. Pushing a statewide bill, Illinois has a statewide bill. Tackling statewide policy in hopes of later pushing to federal legislation. 
Aditi M Question: What is the final objective? To get police out of the school or to just be involved in a process? When do you declare victory?
Becky H A: When all students are safe! The conversation around what does a victory look like - we know this has been a multi-year fight. What I would consider a victory is removing NYPD from schools, limiting police in schools, and a positive school culture that promotes education and careers.
schock.one@gmail.com Why can't schools hire their own security guards, not NYPD, trained in de-escalation, part of a community, working to create safe school cultures?
Becky H The second piece is to create restorative schools. The concept of restorative justice, comes from indigenous communities that believe in healing and accountability in real ways. When we're 14, 15, 16, our brains are still developing, why would we charge ourselves as adults?
Bringing in social and emotional learning.
schock.one@gmail.com Question: how does UYC organize? How do you form groups in schools?
A: We're a coalition of Make the Road, Sistas and Brothers United, Future of Tomorrow (and another org).
Maria organizes the organizations, and the organizations organize the young people. The coalition does the bigger picture, citywide work with everyone.
Becky H I organize the organizations, the organizations organize the young people.
Aditi M Becky: Oftentimes, we are told surveillance is about safety, but we never have the conversation about what is safety.
schock.one@gmail.com What is the role of young peoplle in creating safe spaces? 
We don't talk about what the physical environment looks like: cameras, metal detectors, barbed wire, hallway sweeps. 
Becky H Question: What is the most important piece for you, from the work this term? Incident reporting, informaiton sharing, what's at the core of what you want to have come out of this project? Is
Answer: Combination of data-collecting, so we can see where there's a need for organizing. We hear on the ground what young people are saying, but there's no way to capture the day to day of what is happening to young people. We can't have access to this, even the data we get is limited because of federal protection of information, which is an excuse.
Surveys so they can share their daily experience. The sharing of stories to build bases, young people to get them to organize. I was hoping for something like the Stop and Frisk app, but that's really hard. Knowing where there is a need to organize and using the stories and information that comes out of that to build relationships and start organizing.
Q: What do you currently do to gather that information?
A: The membership, and the local orgs, and the schools, do that. We're not in Harlem, El Barrio, Chinatown, a lot of communities where folks look like us, but there's not a lot of organizing around school safety or youth organizing. We want to be able to capture neighborhoods we're not in already because we need to be there.
Q: The campaigns now, how are they sending their messages? Rallies, twitter hashtags, how?
A: Our young people write op eds and we get them published; we're doing a better job around social media, engaging in conversations with everyone - mayor's office, influential people and have had a lot of conversations; there's a barrier to the stories we can share. We've experienced a lot of backlash when we share particular stories about young poeple -- none of the storeis are clean, they are complicated. A lot of times there is responsibility on the student. We also message it -- adults need to react like adults, not in abusive ways when young people act out. 
We have heard that schools have found out that students have reported stories and schools are harder on them and that school security forces beat up young people for reporting incidents.  We have had media outlets researching yong people and exposing that some of our young people have citations or warnings. We are cautious about sharing because of potential backlash.

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