Kevin Curry: Why I’m Coding for America

I recently made a significant change in my life. I joined Code for America.

I’ve actually been a part of Code for America, as an advisor, from its beginning. Actually, Code for America Founder and Executive Director Jennifer Pahlka and I hosted the very first CityCamp in January 2010. A couple of weeks ago I made a stronger commitment to CfA by becoming the Director for our new program, CfA Brigade. Together, we’ll build the civic web.

The civic web is the infrastructure for government in the “Age of the Internet.” It’s about time we had one.

The World Wide Web is the Guttenberg Press of our time. There can be no question that the web has enlightened all of humanity in a manner vastly exceeding its original intent, much like the printed word. The simple ability to link together texts and other media on the Internet has utterly transformed our ability to convey meaningful information for any purpose.

One of these purposes must be government. And yet our ability to use the web for government is stifled. Resources needed to improve the status quo are virtually non-existent. Fewer workers are tasked more than in recent decades. Despite the profound consequence of Web 2.0, basic digital literacy is still broadly need, particularly in civic matters. You’d be surprised at how few civic leagues know what Word Press is. There are still too many government documents published in formats that are inaccessible to the masses. There are still too few government processes that work like the web. That government cannot keep up with the pace of innovation can no longer be an excuse. And we’re going to do something about it.

We will deploy civic apps. We will liberate civic data. We will stand up and operate civic hubs online. We will create the “Code for America effect” anywhere and everywhere there is a talented local community to sustain it.

I Code for America because I am confident in the Web’s ability to empower people to overcome the status quo. I Code for America because I have witnessed and experienced the transformative contribution of the web toward a better society. I Code for America because it works and because it matters.

In the words of our new Fellowship Director, Bob Sofman, “We are all fellows.” I’m humbled and honored to be one, too.

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