October 19, 2020 | Written by: Evaristus Mainsah and Willie Tejada
IBM has never avoided taking on big challenges. At IBM, we are privileged to drive impact at scale. We take on challenges that transform our clients, impact people’s lives and innovate for future generations as we strive to effect systematic societal change. Over the course of our 109-year history, the evidence has become clear that scaled change is best achieved through the focused deployment of technology, and especially tech for good.
Given the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others, remind us that the fight against systemic racism is more urgent than ever. Today, we are launching Call for Code for Racial Justice, a vital initiative that brings together technology and a powerful ecosystem to combat one of the greatest challenges of our time: racial injustice. As global citizens, we must act now and be part of a tangible change that we want to see today, tomorrow and for generations to come.
Call for Code for Racial Justice facilitates the adoption and innovation of open source projects by developers, ecosystem partners and communities across the world to drive sustainable change in three focus areas: Police & Judicial Reform and Accountability; Diverse Representation; and Policy & Legislation Reform.
The new initiative emerged from an internal IBM program called the Call for Code Emb(race) Challenge. It was started by Black IBMers who, along with Red Hatters and IBM allies, applied their ingenuity and expertise to design and develop technology solutions to address the problem of systemic racism. These solutions are now being opened up to the world as open source projects through the Call for Code tech-for-good platform.
Call for Code has a proven record of successful global programs that for three years have been addressing some of the most pressing challenges of our time, including Covid-19, climate change and natural disasters. Call for Code has grown to include an impressive ecosystem of technology and humanitarian experts, and more than 400,000 developers across 179 nations.
Today, the IBM Call for Code for Racial Justice team is contributing solution starters to the open source community. These projects were built using technologies such as Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Cloud, IBM Watson, Blockchain ledger, Node.js, Vu.js, Docker, Kubernetes and Tekton. We’re asking developers and ecosystem partners to join us in combatting racial injustice by testing, extending and implementing these open source solutions, and contributing their own diverse perspectives and expertise to make them even stronger:
- Five Fifths Voter: This web application empowers Black people and other minorities to ensure their voices are heard by exercising their right to vote. It is a virtual one-stop-shop to help determine optimal voting strategies for each individual and limit the impact of previous suppression issues.
- Legit-info: Local legislation and policies can have significant impact on areas as far-reaching as jobs, the environment and safety. Legit-info helps individuals understand in their own language the legislation that shapes their lives.
- Incident Accuracy Reporting System: This platform for police incident reporting allows witnesses and victims to corroborate evidence from multiple sources and assess against an official police report. The system creates a more reliable record of all accounts of the incident.
- Open Sentencing: To help public defenders better serve their clients, Open Sentencing identifies racial bias in data such as demographics that can help make a stronger case.
- Truth Loop: This app helps communities simply understand the policies, regulations and legislation that will impact them the most.
Together, we’re harnessing open source technology to drive scalable innovation and meaningful change. This will be a persistent, open, always-on initiative and will continue to introduce new open source solutions to inspire global adoption and innovation to help dismantle systemic racism and strive for equality and equity.
IBM is providing the technology. But in keeping with the principles of Call for Code, we know it takes an ecosystem to scale change. Call for Code’s growth and success is a product of the unique ecosystem that IBM and Call for Code creator David Clark Cause have convened to unite the technology development community with humanitarian organizations to ensure that solutions are robust, efficient, innovative and easy to use.
United Nations Human Rights (UNHR) advocates for solutions to tackle racial discrimination and encourages global mobilized ecosystems, like Call for Code, to create scalable solutions.
Together with partners like Black Girls Code, Collab Capital, Dream Corps, The United Way Worldwide, American Airlines, Cloud Native Computing Foundation and Red Hat, Call for Code for Racial Justice is inviting developers to apply their skills and ingenuity to combat systemic racism. Black Girls Code is also the most recent recipient of IBM’s Open Source Community Grant and has also formed a newly expanded partnership with IBM. We’re counting on the diversity of the global open source community to lean in and help build real solutions to serious problems. It’s easy to get involved. If you’re a developer, expand upon the solution starters and spread the word. You have the skillset and ingenuity to make a difference. If you’re an organization, we invite you to join our growing partner ecosystem. Together, we have the power and responsibility to help scale and implement solutions for this important cause.