What We Do

What is Open Savannah?

Open Savannah is a volunteer Civic Technology meetup. We are part of the Code for America Brigade network, and are made up of developers, designers, data geeks, citizen activists, and many others who use creative technology to solve civic and social problems.


What is Civic Technology?

The definition of civic tech can be quite unclear sometimes - here is a great starting point: #CivicTech Primer: What is “civic tech”?

The gist of it though, if you want a quick summary, is that civic tech is using technology in a creative way to help better the lives of individuals in our communities, whether that is through person-to-person interactions, or via person-to-government interactions.


Code for America

Open Savannah is part of the Brigade Network of Code for America. Learn more about Code for America.


Why aren't you called "Code for Savannah"?

Unlike many Code for America brigades, our local brigade founders felt it of paramount importance to promote inclusivity and community diversity. Part of that involves having a name for your organization that doesn't scare would-be members away. While 'code' is certainly a big part of what we do, it's only a piece of the puzzle, and we didn't think the name 'Code for Savannah' adequately reflected the true nature of our organization.


How we work

We meet up regularly every other Thursday night to talk about techology, design, policy, our communities, and more. We hold larger hacknight-style events once a month usually, and organize major hackathons with cash prizes from time to time throughout the year. We collaborate constantly within our community and with other communities worldwide on Github.

Our Code of Conduct

The Open Savannah community expects that Open Savannah network activities, events, and digital forums:

  • Are a safe and respectful environment for all participants.
  • Are a place where people are free to fully express their identities.
  • Presume the value of others. Everyone’s ideas, skills, and contributions have value.
  • Don’t assume everyone has the same context, and encourage questions.
  • Find a way for people to be productive with their skills (technical and not) and energy. Use language such as “yes/and,” not “no/but.”
  • Encourage members and participants to listen as much as they speak.
  • Organize activities to empower public collaboration.
  • Build tools that are open, free technology for public use.
  • Prioritize access for and input from those who are traditionally excluded from the civic process.
  • Work to ensure that the community is well- represented in the planning, design, and implementation of civic tech. This includes encouraging participation from women, minorities, and traditionally marginalized groups.
  • Actively involve community groups and those with subject matter expertise in the decision-making process.
  • Ensure that the relationships and conversations between community members, the local government staff, and community partners remain respectful, participatory, and productive.
  • Provide an environment where people are free from discrimination and harassment.
  • Open Savannah reserves the right to remove anyone in violation of these policies from any Open Savannah event, network activity, or digital forum. Repeated offenses may mean not being welcomed back to future Open Savannah events.

Open Savannah’s Anti-Harassment Policy

All Open Savannah network activities, events, and digital forums and their staff, presenters, and participants are held to an anti-harassment policy, included below.

In addition to governing our own events by this policy, Open Savannah will only collaborate with groups that offer an anti-harassment policy to their attendees, or are willing to implement one. For information on how to offer an anti-harassment policy to your group, see this guide.

Open Savannah is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, or any other identifying characteristics. We do not tolerate harassment of staff, presenters, or participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any Open Savannah event or network activity, including talks.

Harassment includes but is not limited to: offensive verbal or written comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, or other identifying characteristics; sexual images in public spaces; deliberate intimidation; stalking; following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; unwelcome sexual attention; unwarranted exclusion; patronizing language or action; or conversation topics that make others uncomfortable.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from Open Savannah network activities, events, and digital forums. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Anyone in violation of these policies may expelled from Open Savannah network activities, events, and digital forums, at the discretion of the Brigade Core Team.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the Brigade Core Team immediately. You can contact them using the contact information listed below or in person, if you are comfortable doing so.

Event staff or forum administrators will be happy to help participants contact security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event. While all of our organizers and facilitators are ready to help, please let them know if you would prefer to be assisted by someone of your choosing.

You can also contact Open Savannah about harassment at yall@opensavannah.org and feel free to use the email template below. The Open Savannah Brigade Core Team acknowledge that we are not always in a position to evaluate a given situation. However, we are hopeful that by providing these guidelines we are establishing a community that jointly adheres to these values and can provide an environment that is welcoming to all.

If you cannot reach member of the Brigade Core Team and/or it is an emergency, please call 911 and/or remove yourself from the situation. We value your attendance and hope that by communicating these expectations widely we can all enjoy a harassment-free environment.

This policy is based on several other policies, including the Ohio LinuxFest anti-harassment policy, written by Esther Filderman and Beth Lynn Eicher, and the Con Anti-Harassment Project. Mary Gardiner, Valerie Aurora, Sarah Smith, and Donna Benjamin generalized the policies and added supporting material. Many members of LinuxChix, Geek Feminism and other groups contributed to this work. Special thanks to Ashe Dryden for compiling accessible Code of Conduct reference materials.

`Email Template for Anti-Harassment Reporting SUBJECT: Safe Space alert at [EVENT NAME]

I am writing because of harassment at an Open Savannah event, [NAME, PLACE, DATE OF EVENT].

You can reach me at [CONTACT INFO]. Thank you.

Default contact information for Open Savannah events.`

Open Savannah Brigade Core Team & Organizers

  • Whole team: yall@opensavannah.org
  • Carl V. Lewis (Brigade Captain): carl@opensavannah.org
  • Rob Lingle (Brigade Captain): rob@opensavannah.org
  • Luke Golden (Brigade Captain): luke@opensavannah.org
  • Aaron Pompei (Community Lead): aaron@opensavannah.org
  • Caila Brown (Communications Lead): caila@opensavannah.org
  • OPEN POSITION (Fundraising Lead):
  • Gary Skoglind (Delivery Lead): gary@opensavannah.org
  • Nick Helmholdt (Government Partnership Liasion): nick@opensavannah.org

Local Resources

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police, non-emergency: 912-652-6500 Coastal Emergency Medical Services: 912-335-3935 Savannah Area Rape Crisis Center: http://www.rccsav.org/ Savannah Rape Crisis Center Sexual Assault Hotline: 912-233-7273

by carlvlewis
Mon Nov 21 2016 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)