From pandemic isolation to a global state of unrest: 2020 has been a year of stark wake-up calls, bringing to light the inequality that's still rife in our modern society. Just like every other industry, the design community must step up to fight injustice, from improving access to information to shaping reform at the highest levels.
If you're making your voice heard on the streets, these practical solutions and services could help keep you safe.
In high-risk situations, staying connected to your community is essential. Endorsed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, journalists and cryptographers, Signal is the app for sharing information securely. The free service uses advanced privacy-preserving technology with messages delivered quickly and reliably, even on slow networks. Signal, a completely independent 501c3 nonprofit, can't read your messages or listen to your calls, and no one else can either. "No advertisements. No trackers. No kidding".
This mobile app is a go-to hub for showcasing injustice and protecting people from unlawful arrests. By tapping a button, users can instantly record or live stream high-risk situations, be it a police altercation, involvement in a protest or any other case where the user may be in danger. The app also provides real-time generated civil rights information, based on geolocation, as well as connections to organisations, lawyers, and media to help users take the right action.
If you're arrested, whether justified or not, you'll have your phone taken away from you. And if you do get a chance to call for help, you'll likely only have access to a few standard numbers. GoodCall is an emergency arrest hotline service in New York City aimed at helping low-income communities. The idea is simple: Add 1-833-346-6322 to your emergency contact lists and through one call you're able to both notify loved ones and be transferred to a free lawyer.
If you're unable to protest and/or want to take a stance online, Avaaz can help. The digital platform is a global connector for petition-signing and organiser for turning individual voices into one loud roar. It campaigns in 15 different languages and has more than 62 million members worldwide. Going beyond petition power, they're also funding media campaigns, organising offline protests and directly contacting governments on critical issues.
While we need immediate solutions, supporting those creating a better future is just as important. The American prison system has long been criticised for its fatal flaws, that's why Promise is trying to reinvent incarceration in the US. As a team of engineers, designers, researchers, data scientists and lawyers, their goal is to use technology to help more than seven million people caught in the American criminal justice system. They build custom solutions for better outcomes, optimise case manager time with automated workflows and provide real-time analytics on specific programme outcomes.
Stay safe out there, and if you have more solutions we should know about and highlight, please let us know.
Image: Clay Banks