Back in January, when the earthquake happened in Haiti, I felt like I do in all catastrophic disasters. Sick to my stomach. Human suffering is always hard to see, but for me, I’ve always been really sensitive to the suffering of others, and my whole life these instances had left me feeling like what could I do to help. Me, only one person.
As I’ve grown into my activist and humanitarian roles, technology has helped me find a place where I feel like I belong in the response. It’s not my primary profession, per say, in life. But it is a place where I feel like I can make a difference.
Sometimes, from using our voice. Our voice online has the ability to multiply and make a bigger impact. Using your voice on the internet (and this could be Facebook or your own blog) is a way of standing up for what you believe, asking questions, and seeking answers.
That’s what happened to me in January. The earthquake happened and I turned to the Internet to see what the response would be. I had heard of Transparency Camps happening last summer, but only pieces, as I had been in the Philippines on my Kiva Fellowship. I had heard more about CrisisCommons from friends like Alex Rose and Chad Catacchio and with my incessant need for information learned more about the Camps. I started to see them pop up around the country and people were reaching out to me, since I now lived in New Orleans, asking to connect with people who had been instrumental in the response for Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and wondering when there would be a CrisisCamp in New Orleans.
From the bottom of my cause-filled activist heart, you could say this is how I was roped in to creating CrisisCampNOLA.
I was helped by Robert Fogarty, who himself has a nonprofit focused on evacuation techniques called Evacuteer.org and by Barrett Conrad, who leads up a monthly developer event in New Orleans and could tap into those networks to get developers to attend.
So I had Alex and Chad rooting me on, and Robert and Barrett partnering and helping shoulder the load, and the local New Orleans community donating space (LaunchPadNOLA), food (Naked Pizza) and press/promotion (New Orleans Tech) and all of the pieces were coming together. But more than all of that, all CrisisCamps would be remiss not to mention Heather Blanchard.
Heather’s passion for creating CrisisCamp and moving CrisisCommons into a viable entity were never far off from the overall goal of having a successful campaign.