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Sonia’s Project Ideas

PROJECT IDEA 1: Stop & Frisk Reporting Application a.k.a. Talking to the Man App

Background & Problem Statement

Stop and Frisk is legally defined as the practice in which a police officer who is suspicious of an individual detains the person and runs her or his hands lightly over the suspect’s outer garments to determine if the person is carrying a concealed weapon.

 

It is believed that residents from neighborhoods in New York City that are characterized as young, poor, have  low educational attainment, and are disproportionately Black and Latino are also disproportionately affected. Recently a group of 5 young people and 3 adults in the neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn wrote a play to help educate other members of their community about these socially unjust and arguably racist practices. These practices have lead to an increase of arrests especially among poor people of color and contributes to on-going poor community relations with the police. The development of the Talking to the Man application would allow the documentation of practices to work with police to improve community relationships. The application could provide the law, send an automatic message to an emergency contact (such as parents or other care givers), and techniques for de-escalating encounters with police.

Personas

Below are some sample personas describing characteristics of people who are affected by the stop and frisk practices.

Rosa is 38 years old. She works at a community center and has to walk through NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) at all hours day and night because she also is attending college and keeps late hours studying and usually is too impatient to wait for the bus. She has been stopped and frisked by the police as a young adult and as an adult a total of 5 times but has never been arrested.

 

Marcus is 17 years old, shops at the big & tall store, is Black and lives with his Aunt with whom he does not get along so spends most of his non-school time on the blacktop playing basketball. Malcolm has a winning smile and gentle demeanor, but knows the importance of never leaving the house without some form of identification, especially as a tall Black male. He was stopped by the police at 12 and 15 when he was walking to the basketball courts.

 

Kay is 21 years old in 2 days. She loves fashion and hopes to make a transition from being a fashion student, to working in fashion in the next year. She has a 2 year-old son and is the third generation to grow up in Red Hook. She and her mom have been stopped and frisked twice before she had her son.

 

Rationale for Execution of Project

Drawing from training at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and nearly 20 years of HIV prevention experience working with vulnerable young people in Austin and New York, Ms. González has a proven track record working with adolescents in sensitive issues such as HIV-prevention and is particularly interested in research concerning young people of color and their social networks, new media and technology and communication.

Among other community involvement, she has co-founded the Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition; served as Deputy Director for Love Heals, a non-profit organization focused on HIV prevention among teens in NYC; and currently serves as a Board of Director for the Red Hook Initiative. In the fall of 2009, she returned to school at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where is currently earning a Doctorate of Public Health (DPH) with a focus on Community, Health & Society and is concurrently earning a certificate in Interactive Technology Pedagogy, designed to provide intellectual opportunities and technical training that enable Graduate Center doctoral students to think creatively and critically about the uses of instructional technology to improve teaching, learning, and research. Her training working with communities in NYC and in technology development have prepared her to execute this community-centered application project.

The Application in Practice

Short Version:

A short version would allow focus on a text message version that allows users to:

  • Engage in community reporting by texting when they have experienced stop and frisk first hand, or when they believe they have witnessed it;
  • Geolocation would capture where the caller is when they report the incident or enter the address of where the incident occurred.

Short Version Inputs

The following training and other inputs have been identified to carry out this project:

  • Community buy-in for input of design and feedback on making improvements;
  • Training for text programs; and,
  • Geolocation programming from text then translating that into a map or other useful data interpretation.

Full Version

The full version operates as an application for a smart phone and builds on the current application called Your Rights, which takes information from the American Civil Liberties Union to convey some of the information on how to interact with the police, for example.

The full version of Talking to the Man would include 2-3 scenarios of people interacting with the police in which, they could select different movements to help their avatar navigate an encounter with the police that could simulate how different responses either de-escalate a situation or could have them be arrested.

Full Version Inputs

The following training and other inputs have been identified to carry out this project:

  • Community buy-in for input of design and feedback on making improvements;
  • Game and avatar development with images;
  • Story building (with community);
  • Gather de-escalation techniques recommended for Stop and Frisk; and
  • Gather meditation techniques.

 

 

PROJECT IDEA 2: TRUST THIS: An App that talks about Sex for Real

Background & Problem Statement

HIV incidence in youth. Of the more than 1.7 million estimated people to have been infected with HIV in the US, new HIV infections are highest among Blacks and Latinos.  Young people aged 13 to 29 accounted for 39% of new HIV infections in 2009, the largest share of any age group, primarily via sexual transmission.

Youth utilization of messaging. As researchers struggle to find ways to curb HIV among Black and Latino youth, an important and innovative area that is understudied and may offer new and innovative techniques to prevent HIV and other sexual and reproductive health (SRH) negative outcomes is the use of text messaging and instant messaging services via social networking sites (collectively referred to as messaging). These may be particularly relevant given that these modes of communication are ubiquitously used, especially among youth: data from a 2010 report found that 96% of 18 to 29 year olds and 75% of teens owned a cell phone, 88% regularly and consistently text message and 73% use social networking websites; however, it is unclear how cell phone ownership among Black and Latino urban young men and women is different from a broader sample and the potential for making inroads in HIV and STI prevention.

A leverage point for HIV prevention in Black and Latino youth?  There is a dearth of knowledge about how young Black and Latino young women and men use these platforms specifically for SRH needs, if at all. While texting and use of social networking sites are widespread among young people, and especially popular among young people of color, there is a gap in knowing whether teens might be open to using these modes of communication for HIV prevention, and other sexual and reproductive health issues.

Application Implementation. TRUST THIS application would provide reliable and accurate sex positive information to young people, including proper condom use, and factual information about symptoms to be aware of for the most common sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and Herpes. It would also allow users to connect to a youth friends sexual and reproductive health expert.

Personas

Below are some sample personas describing characteristics of the people who might use TRUST THIS.

 

Dora is 16 years old identifies as heterosexual but, in her words, “messes around” with and “talks to” i.e. has sex with both men and women.  She usually uses a condom, but not always. She will have a daughter by the time she is 20 years old. Her family life is complicated: when she turned 15 years old, she was expected to contribute to the family income, and that was more important than going to school.

 

Miguelito aka ITO is 17 years old has a steady girlfriend since he was 15 years old, but they have an open relationship and both always use a condom with other people, but to demonstrate their trust, they usually do not use a condom with one another. His home life involves getting high with his family including mom, an older sister, two younger brothers and his mother’s boyfriends, who never contribute to supporting the family in productive ways. Most of the time the boyfriends are battling drug abuse and expose the family to mood swings and intermittent drug use/abuse.  ITO and his girlfriend will be pregnant when he is 23.

 

All of these young people live in geographically isolated areas where trains and local buses are not close and are unreliable, there by increasing their time walking through the neighborhood and being exposed to neighborhood drugs and violence, which is higher than see in wealthier neighborhoods.

 

Rationale for Execution of Project

Drawing from training at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and nearly 20 years of HIV prevention experience working with vulnerable young people in Austin and New York, Ms. González has a proven track record working with adolescents in sensitive issues such as HIV-prevention and is particularly interested in research concerning young people of color and their social networks, new media and technology and sexual health communication.

Among other community involvement, she has co-founded the Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition; served as Deputy Director for Love Heals, a non-profit organization focused on HIV prevention among teens in NYC; and currently serves as a Board of Director for the Red Hook Initiative. In the fall of 2009, she returned to school at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she is earning a Doctorate of Public Health (DPH) with a focus on Community, Health & Society and is earning a certificate in Interactive Technology Pedagogy, designed to provide intellectual opportunities and technical training that enable Graduate Center doctoral students to think creatively and critically about the uses of instructional technology to improve teaching, learning, and research. Her experience working with vulnerable young people in NYC and training in technology development have prepared her to execute this community-centered application project.

The Application in Practice

Current Version

There are many existing programs that could be used to build from including Text in the City and the Department of Health Condom locator application. Most notably is the development of the Chat About That application, with input from peer educators from the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which currently provides:

 

  • Safer sex tips;
  • Nearby Resources using the Google maps;
  • Sex Trivia to increase knowledge about common myths; and,
  • Speak with a Peer Educator.

Full Version

This version operates as an application and builds on the current application called Chat About That

 

  • Dissemination by promotion through QR codes on a flier or FB/Twitter/Other SNS media that might help it go viral;
  • Connection to DOHNYC Condom “find it” app;
  • Project sharing with other peer education programs that are not as LGBTQQ focused, but that could also benefit from this project.

 

Full Version Inputs

  • Buy-in from Chat About That people to work collaboratively;
  • Buy-in from the Department of Health Condom Availability Program to work collaboratively;
  • Learn how to develop a QR code for further dissemination.

 

Posted in Assignment.


7 Responses

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  1. Xav Rocc Rard says

    I’m certain you have to have invested lote of time for this article.Anyway, I really enjoy looking at your site content.

  2. Profile photo of Sonia K. González Sonia K. González says

    Update:
    I met with Sarah Jenny earlier today and she has graciously agreed to a collaboration project that I am currently proposing as my dissertation research (and as part of a government predoctoral training award).

    In its full version, I would add social services such as counseling and substance abuse treatment programs to the already functional prototype that includes sexual health information, myth clarification, proper condom use information, and a feature to text a health educator.

    An idea that Michael had was to add a feature that could generate an FAQ type of database where participants could post questions based off of how quora.com works. This website allows users to post questions and then experts respond. This expert-driven response system could then be catalogued for users to search, for which media wiki or data in a sql database could be used, TBD for this semester. Questions remain how this could be added onto a mobile phone device, so Michael has suggested a former ITP GC grad who might be able to help. The data format I use will match the current format already in use.

    I also want to add on a feature to send push texts, I have a connection to the folks at mobile commons, so I want to reach out to them. In addition, I found a report put out by the Foundation on AIDS Research, that conducted research with MSM that may prove useful.

  3. Profile photo of mandiberg mandiberg says

    What is nice about the app that Amy posted is that it simplifies things down and gets rid of bells and whistles. All it does is store six names & addresses (possibly from your address book? but maybe that is phase 2), and send out three prepared messages with locations. You are storing three numbers and sending a location to them, as well as a fourth entity: your web script that will put a pin on a map. Simple Simple Simple!

  4. Profile photo of meiling meiling says

    Hi Sonia,
    Saw this article and thought of your project:
    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/35/12/dtg_stopfrisk_2012_03_23_bk.html

  5. Profile photo of Amy Amy says

    Sonia — just got an email about this app, which made me think of your Stop and Frisk app:
    http://www.circleof6app.com/

  6. Profile photo of Sonia K. González Sonia K. González says

    A possible modification to the Stop and Frisk App includes:
    1) posting a photo to Flickr and that would pull geo data, possibly with a specific tag.
    1a) As part of the information that gets pulled includes some mapping data [Jacob might also be working with similar technology]; should research other mapping options/research/work: Here comes everybody, Collaborative Crime Mapping Project by Furtado is a good starting point.
    2) There should be a function to allow for retrospective data entry (i.e. entering data after the fact)
    3) There is strong potential for this project to be collaborative, possibly with ACLU or other social justice/rights organizations

    For the Sex Education App, I will be in touch with Sarah Jenny

  7. Sarah Jenny says

    Hi there – I just saw you referenced my graduate thesis project, Chat About That (the mobile web app) here. Sounds like you are doing some very interesting work. I would love to connect! – Sarah Jenny (sarahjenny///at/////gmail////com)



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