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"Imagine Miami” Conference Explored the Role of Technology in Accelerating Social Change

By: Nancy Dahlberg

Catalyst Miami and Digital Grass Innovation & Technology (DGIT) convened 100 residents, service providers, and technologists to discuss and plan how technology can be utilized to drive social change in Miami 

On Friday, May 15, Catalyst Miami and Digital Grass Innovation & Technology (DGIT) hosted Imagine Miami: Tech & Community Edition at the Miami Dade College Idea Center in Miami. In an effort to bridge the gap between Miami’s vibrant tech scene and the greater community, this free Imagine Miami conference featured five panels of thought leaders sharing their insight and ideas on how to address concerns in our communities through civic engagement, innovation and technology.

Speakers included Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, III, T. Willard Fair of the Urban League, Maxeme Tuchman of Teach for America, and representatives from Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Launch Code, Collaborative Development Corporation, New Tropic, Awesome Foundation and more.

Oshun Marcella, moderator of the Health & Wellness for the TechSoul Panel, said, “For me today the experience was phenomenal. I had no idea what to expect at all. The information I got prior to my session was valuable—so valuable!—and allowing me to speak to the panelists and actually have some interaction for action… it felt like not just another whiteboard meeting. Also, the diversity of the audience here and the participation of the audience… made me think that they really want to see change.”

At the end of the day, participants shared their tech-centered solutions, which focused on history & tourism, health, conflict resolution, civic action and work ethic. Digital Grass and Catalyst Miami will work with the teams to ensure that the ideas are realized through collaboration with other local startups and community organizations. Selected community solutions will also compete for Awesome Foundation Micro-grants.

LaToya Stirrup, co-founder of Digital Grass and moderator of the History & Tourism: The Story of Miami panel, said, "This experience proved that through collaboration and inclusion, people from all backgrounds, ages and neighborhoods can work together to solve problems. Now the real work begins as we partner with Catalyst Miami and other organizations to turn these great ideas into viable solutions."

Participant Amir Youssef said the Imagine Miami event was “inspiring, informative, [and] it’s good to see a group of people get together to solve problems rather than just talking about it.”

Imagine Miami is a community effort to connect people, organizations, and businesses improve quality of life in Miami-Dade County. Through the Imagine Miami conferences, we connect people to ideas and tools for action, and build hope with true stories of people who are making a difference.


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