Have a unique view on ‘data for good’? I want to hear from you

I’m thrilled to share that I’m now managing editorial for the Digital Impact (DI) portfolio hosted by the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford PACS. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Liquidnet, and Knight Foundation, DI works to improve digital culture and infrastructure by helping professionals to handle data safely, ethically, and effectively.

Digital Impact is enriched with perspectives from every corner of the public sphere. Our community of experts, virtual roundtable series, and dynamic toolkit draw on the experiences of organizations working toward integrating appropriate data management and governance throughout their work.

Have a viewpoint on data you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you. Visit digitalimpact.org, submit your idea there, or pitch me directly here.

My Strategy Featured in Routledge Guide to Health Communication

When George Mason University’s David Anderson invited me to contribute to Health and Safety Communication: A Practical Guide Forward, I wanted to bring attention to an influential yet unseen demographic: diverse elders.

For diverse elders, invisibility is a barrier to support. In 2015, a national advocacy group asked me to design and implement a consumer portal and digital campaign for its housing initiative. Focused on diverse elders, the national initiative mobilizes support, innovates services and educates people on issues ranging from housing and long term care to cultural competency and mental health.

The 300-page guide published by Routledge looks at how professionals engage with their audiences. A digital campaign I led in Spring 2016 yielded record engagement for the organization and boosted support for diverse elders across generational lines.

By designing a more inclusive consumer ed approach to engagement, we were able to triple our reach and then some. I hope our success, which I outlined in “Creating empathy through intergenerational dialogue” (page 20) inspires professionals as they navigate new terrain in digital marketing and public policy.

My Series About a ‘Movement with No Leaders’ Uncovered Many

I have an itch for documenting things. I’m captivated by the history of history — how we recount and relate our past to the present and the future. It’s why I’m drawn to futurism, and why I’m so fascinated by the way cities and social movements work.

When Jeremy Peters wrote Why the Gay Rights Movement Has No National Leader for The New York Times in 2009, I resolved to meet with founding members of the GLF, to see for myself if his claims were true. Over 10 days that summer, I caught up with surviving founders who, by that time, were scattered across the country.

The result was 40 Years After Stonewall, a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and the beginning of the modern queer rights movement.

In a short time, I explored the compelling lives of a group of kids who came to New York to “make it big,” or simply to be themselves, blending in with the city’s teeming diversity. How they converged, how their adventures brought them face-to-face with figures like Huey Newton of the Black Panthers, AIDS activist Larry Kramer and civil rights icon Jane Fonda, you can read for yourself on the Stonewall Rebels website.

These interviews are a resource for historians and activists. With Stonewall’s 50th anniversary approaching, I’m excited to see how we can improve on the 2009 series.

My Interview with Kevin Cathcart Cited in MI Journal of Gender and Law

My interview of Lambda Legal ED Kevin Cathcart for my series, 40 Years After Stonewall, was referenced in a 2015 issue of the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law.

Wyatt Fore’s article, DeBoer v. Snyder: A Case Study In Litigation and Social Reform,” came weeks before the US Supreme Court ruling in the landmark civil rights case, Obergefell v. Hodges. SCOTUS ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Fore’s abstract reads:

This Note examines DeBoer v. Snyder, the Michigan marriage case, with the goal of providing litigators and scholars the proper context for our current historical moment in which (1) the legal status of LGBT people; and (2) the conventional wisdom about the role of impact litigation in social reform movements are rapidly evolving.

On page 192, under the section, “DeBoer: A Defence of Litigation as a Social Reform Tool,” Fore writes:

Commentators often made the criticism that the LGBT movement relies “too much on the litigation groups and on legal victories” instead of “build[ing] a robust enough political arm,” resulting in a situation whereby “[g]ay marriage litigation may also have distracted attention from other items on the gay rights agenda.”

During the interview, I asked Cathcart if the idea of “radical” had changed in the 40 years since Stonewall, and to differentiate legal work from that of other advocacy groups, to which he answered:

What I’m about to say may seem like a strange criticism of the movement (coming from me), but I think that for a long time the movement and LGBT people relied too much on the litigation groups and on legal victories to move our rights forward and didn’t build a robust enough political arm. The work of building more political strength has been going on the past several years but we are weak on the ground in lots of places, including Washington, D.C. where we are still fighting for passage of Hate Crimes and employment protections and for a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Our movement needs more legal resources, but it also needs more political power; when we have both we will be unstoppable.

As Lambda Legal’s Online Content Specialist for two years, I ghostwrote Cathcart’s monthly column and for lead attorneys on landmark cases, including Varnum v. Brien. Many thanks to Fore for including the interview, and for this informative article.

Finding My COMPASS, an Award-Winning Educational Resource

Dr. David Anderson, the director of COMPASS, developed its predecessor, Healthy Expectations, to help first-year students as they transition to college. First implemented in 2000, the program was based on seven life health principles designed to create healthy communities by fostering a positive and supportive culture for students on campus.

In 2005, as Senior Editor for George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Health, I led the editorial process for the multimedia version that earned a model program award from the US Department of Education. A product of hard work, this successful project unlocked a decade of achievements. It was my first taste of life as a digital nomad, and I’ve been working remotely ever since.

The project that grew around COMPASS (creating, optimizing, mapping, planning, achieving, steering and succeeding) was an intensive exercise in autonomy, mastery and purpose long before Daniel Pink brought “Motivation 3.0” to the mainstream. Developing the name, brand, UX and curriculum, and managing contributions from 30+ experts, each brought unique challenges that still inspire me today.

US Dept. of Ed assessment (PDF) http://bit.ly/us-dept-of-education-compass-excerpt
COMPASS website https://compass.gmu.edu/