Monthly Archives: February 2015

“Claiming the Beloved Community”

Peter Corless, founder of GlobalCommit.org, attended a meeting in San Jose entitled “Claiming the Beloved Community: Black and Brown Lives Matter” at the Bible Way Christian Center, Friday, 20 February 2015. His views were published on his personal blog.laurie-smith

The meeting was created by Silicon Valley church leaders and the local San Jose NAACP, and was attended by faith, community and youth leaders, as well as members of law enforcement and elected officials, including San Jose Mayor Sam Licardo, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, and Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.

GlobalCommit Calls for Data Scientists, Developers and Big Data Experts

Origins of GlobalCommit in Social Media

GlobalCommit has its origins in Social Media Emergency Management (SMEM). People who use free and open social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with communities-of-interest gathered around a crisis, whether that is a hurricane in New York City or a typhoon in the Philippines.

Yet there is only so much that can be done by social media alone. Social media often leaves great gaps in knowledge. You might get a burst of information from one highly-connected cluster of plugged-in individuals, while other needs and interests remain utterly unaddressed due to issues of “digital divides” that either pre-existed the crises, or were created as a result of it.

Combing Data Sources

Beyond social media data, there is also organizational data from community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and even small or medium sized entities, such as companies or local non-profits or governmental agencies. These groups are usually already plugged into communities, and can assess needs that external groups would not have historical insight into.

On top of that, there are “big data” collections, often gathered by large corporations, high tech organizations, governments and large NGOs. Such data is often open for public review, though there are also more private data sources where needs of privacy, confidentiality, and identity protection are paramount. (For instance, public health data, or information about refugees, etc.)

Between these three main types of sources — crowdsourcing/social media, small/medium-sized organizations, and large-scale collections — problems and crises can be mapped and modeled in new ways that have never been possible before.

The Vision: A Global Conflict & Crisis “Weather Map”

It is the goal of GlobalCommit to eventually produce its own “global conflict and crisis weathermapping system.” Imagine a virtual globe that can be spun around. Zooming in on any major problem the world is facing, and then seeing different “layers” of the problem. If there is Ebola in West Africa, how does that impact the economy of the suffering nations? How does it affect food production and food security? Where are resources presently allocated, and where are there gaps? What groups are on the ground in which communities, and how can a globally-concerned citizen donate to help them? How can a student, a parent, a teacher, or a professional “double-click” on any of these crises to get more information on more granular levels?

There are already many diverse systems existing in the world that address such critical problems that the world faces. Where possible, GlobalCommit will not re-invent the wheel, but will partner with or refer users to other well-known resources. Wikis, forums, and other mapping and data visualization sites. However, in theory, it should as much as possible act as an aggregation source for such open data collections, to provide a broad and deep perspective on critical global problems.

Call for Participants

If you are a data professional, a developer, or are otherwise interested in actively participating in this project, please join us at our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GlobalCommit/

Sign up, and introduce yourself. Let us know of your experience, what other projects you have worked on (or are currently working on), and how you could see yourself participating in our project.

All participation is purely voluntary.

About GlobalCommit

“Commit Yourself to the World”

Imagine you want to do something to help change the world for the better. There is a community where you can start right now. Do it. Join GlobalCommit, and commit yourself to the world.

Founded in January 2015, GlobalCommit was created to begin a U.S. West Coast “non-profit incubator” as a fiscally-sponsored project of Lend a Hand and Foot (LAHAF, Inc.), a New York City-based IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) public benefit non-profit corporation.

LAHAF began in response to the long-term recovery needs following the January 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Today, it has expanded its programs to cover many domestic and international needs.

The predecessor programs for GlobalCommit date back to the 2012 Hurricane Sandy, and before that, philosophically, to projects for global understanding spanning back as far as 2006.

However, what has become apparent in this millennium is that “understanding” is not enough. We have to get involved and stay involved if we are going to change anything for the better. With the rapid changes of technology and society, we can no longer rely solely upon large governments or corporations to see to the needs of the world. Large organizations take time, sometimes years or decades, to respond to emerging needs and issues.

Instead, it is up to concerned citizens of the world, self-organized and self-governed, to help fill in the gaps between existing government agencies, NGOs, corporations and non-profits. We cannot replace the “heavy lifting” capability of entities with billions of dollars at their disposal. Yet we can fill in the gaps and direct these large entities to apply their major capabilities to where they are needed most. We can be the “interstitial tissue” in chaotic situations, helping tie together different and disparate organizations, communities, and viewpoints.

GlobalCommit will not seek to replace or supplant de jure or de facto authorities or organizations, yet will seek to enhance and empower their capabilities, foster community around issues, share information, and generally serve, where and how possible, as at least a stop-gap for individuals and communities for whom no other organization has yet stood up to provide remedy and resolution.