Jesse Michel and Patrick Conant, former Co-Captains of Code for Asheville, have been named 2018 Community Fellows by Code for America for their work on the next version of the State of Black Asheville website. They will be collaborating with Dr. Dwight Mullen and Ashley Cooper as Community Partners, and Eric Jackson and Kimberlee Archie as Government Partners from the City of Asheville.

The Community Fellowship is a new program from Code for America that builds on their previous Fellowship program by taking an innovative approach to support projects that are impactful, sustainable, and locally-focused. Previous iterations of the Fellowship program located Fellows in San Francisco, where they worked on the challenges of a sponsor City. The “Community Fellowship” changes the approach by providing support and resources for brigade members to complete projects in their own community. Team Asheville will join groups from San Jose, Hawaii, and Austin in this initial class.

Here is a description of the Asheville fellowship project:

Asheville suffers significant racial disparities in many areas, from education, economics, and healthcare to housing and criminal justice. To find effective solutions to these complex, persistent challenges, we need a comprehensive resource that collects and enables data-driven research and analysis of outcomes along racial lines and makes the information accessible to our community.

The State of Black Asheville has provided data and cultural information as an undergraduate research project under Prof. Dwight Mullen’s leadership since 2007. The goal of this fellowship is to ensure its long-term sustainability by transforming it into a data-driven tool, integrated with open data from the City and other sources.

This fellowship will focus specifically on building out data-driven enhancements within the criminal justice focus area. Using data requested in Code for Asheville’s recent Petition for Police Accountability Through Data Transparency, together with other sources, we will create a shared tool for addressing the issues underlying racial disparity in Asheville.