Sophia Parafina: Why I’m Coding for America

I Code for America because I believe in praxis. Praxis, as I loosely define it with all apologies to Marx, is the process of putting theory into practice. For a long time I’ve been dissatisfied with the path of my career. For all of my working life, I have worked on piecemeal projects. Start a project, produce deliverables, get paid. Nothing more, nothing less. I think there’s more than that.

I live in inner city neighborhood plagued with stray dog packs, houses in disrepair, graffiti, drug dealing, and prostitution. As a technologist, I saw technical solutions to many of these problems. I’ve seen implementations of Open311 and See, Click, Fix in other cities; and I’ve participated in projects such as TreeKit, a citizen census, and mapping of trees in New York City. I want to build and implement these ideas in my city, but lack an understanding the process of change.

So I Code for America for selfish reasons. I want my neighbors to have the power to make the changes we talk about in neighborhood meetings. I want the interfaces to government to be transparent and open. I think that Code for America will provide the tools to build the connection between citizens and government. I want praxis.

Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.

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