Anywhere, USA / Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Skepticism is real

Over the years, people have swooped into this community with all kinds of plans about how to make things right. Naturally, when another group swoops in with a plan, some people are skeptical. Especially when that plan has to do with data. Who’s providing it? Where are they getting it? What are they hiding? What are they highlighting and celebrating?

In Anywhere, USA, people are frustrated. They already know what’s straining their community because they feel it every day. They see agencies avoiding problems that could easily be solved. On the side of police and prosecution, they don’t have the tools or systems in place to answer the community’s questions. And the press, the sensationalism, the rush to judgment from people who don’t trust them makes their job harder every day.

And yet, day by day, people in this community, regardless of their lived experience or politics, start to embrace an idea that’s not so new as it is right for this particular moment. The idea is this: Maybe if we had data that actually makes clear what is going on in our town, we could validate for the world what we go through every day. Maybe if we had data, we could have a seat at the table instead of being on the table. And go from there.

And so the idea of a data platform designed by this community, which includes both the public and their public servants, takes hold. It’s a collaborative project. What could go wrong?