Progressive Hack Night is building a movement of progressive tech workers that are active in the national and local political conversation. We educate tech workers about important social issues giving them the context to develop technology co-created with advocates, coalitions, and organizations
Since our inception two years ago, we have had 50+ events, where we host speakers and provide spaces for projects to be developed in service to progressive grassroots organizations without institutional monetary support. We have built educational programming ranging from labor, women’s rights, LGBTQAI+ issues, and more. Our community has collectively supported numerous widely used tech tools including but not limited to Spoke, an open source text banking service; Clear Your Cabinet, a tool for the New York Attorney General’s (AG) office.
Progressive HackNight bridges the gap between progressive organizations and tech volunteers by educating tech workers about progressive issues and matching them to organizations whose mission excites them. By contextualizing issues - through the lens of those who are in the front lines, the vulnerable, and the most affected - we are making sure that whatever solution or technologies that tech workers build will be impactful, effective, and most importantly, needed.
What’s a HackNight?
Progressive Hack Night in NYC starts every other Wednesday at 6:30 pm. We usually meet at ThoughtWorks, on the 15th floor of 99 Madison Ave in NYC. The event is free and the invitation is open to anyone--especially folks who aren’t programmers.
We dedicate half of our events to speaker nights, where we learn to see and understand the experiences of those on the frontlines. The other half of our events focus on building technologies that support the work of grassroots organizers.
Here's what happens at a typical speaker HackNight:
6:30pm – Socializing and Food
We meet at the work spaces in ThoughtWorks NYC. There are directions on the walls and organizers to greet you when you arrive and answer any questions you have. Pizza and drinks are provided. During this time, we encourage you meet and mingle with other attendees! .
6:50pm – Welcome, Introductions, Announcements
We get started around 6:50pm with a brief welcome and introduction to the event and each other. Then, we’ll announce any timely actions, events or successes in the community.
7:00pm – Speaker with Q&A
Once a month, we have a presentation that lasts about an hour, followed by an open question & answer (Q&A) session.
Presenters can be individuals, government agencies, non-profits, or groups who are creating a positive impact and want to engage with our community on progressive issues. For every speaker, we provide some clear speaker guidelines.
8 pm – 9:30 pm - Hacking!
Once the presentation wraps up, People are invited to break off into groups and work on projects. At our HackNights, we have two types of breakout groups: learning groups and working groups.
Learning Groups - for those who want to learn new skills, discuss and strategize on issues, or refine their ideas.
Working Groups - teams who provide opportunities for our community to use their skills by actively building technology and tools
Everyone is welcome!
Not a techie? That's great! We encourage non-technical folks to contribute and learn from our community's designers and developers. We've seen time and time again that the best projects come from teams with diverse backgrounds and skill sets.
There's so much more to making great tech than coding.