Strange Loop

Community Driven Development

As developers who want to lend our skills to support organizations fighting for social justice, how do we build effective, impactful collaborations with organizations and make the resulting open source projects sustainable? Over two years and 1,062 commits, we'll follow the evolution of an open source project built with and for New Sanctuary Coalition (NSC), an NYC immigrant rights organization, to meet exponentially growing demand for their immigration court accompaniment program, pro se legal clinic, and anti-detention program following the 2016 election.

We'll examine how having technologists embedded in NSC provided a strong foundation for collaboration through first-hand knowledge of the work the software is supporting, motivation of working alongside a community, and mutual trust with leadership. Reflecting on the wide range of skill sets and experience levels brought to the project, we'll look at how the success of the project was dependent, not just on code contributions, but on training materials, laptop setup, project management, digital security work, and set up of supplementary out-of-the-box software. Drawing from NSC's expertise in building community and lessons learned as an open source maintainer, we'll discuss the strategies we implemented to build a community of technologists to support NSC's immigration justice work.

Christine Zagrobelny

Christine Zagrobelny

Fractured Atlas

Christine is a Ruby engineer, open source maintainer, and theatre director. As an engineer at Fractured Atlas, she builds tools to help artists with the business side of their art (fundraising, selling tickets, finding studio/performance space). Outside of work, Christine maintains open source software to support the work of an NYC immigrant rights organization (New Sanctuary Coalition) and is an organizer for RailsBridge NYC. She is driven and inspired by the potential of technology to enable small organizations with limited resources to maximize their impact.