Wearing a cape, Delali Dzirasa took the mic at Power Plant LIVE’s Mosaic nightclub on Wednesday night.
“We keep waiting as if someone’s going to save us and that’s not happening,” Dzirasa said. “Superman is not on the way and we’ve got to put on a cape.”
He wasn’t alone in donning the cape that night. In this case the hero’s welcome was cast toward technologists, designers, civic and business leaders, educators and, in general, Baltimore residents.
In other words, civic hackers.
Dzirasa, who by day is CEO of downtown Baltimore digital services agency Fearless, was in this case serving in his alter-ego as chair of Hack Baltimore. After more than a year of planning, it’s set to culminate with a hackathon at Inner Harbor’s Columbus Center on the weekend of May 8 to 10.
“We have two fundamental beliefs at Hack Baltimore,” Dzirasa said. “Number one, that our problems can be solved, and number two, that we have a whole city and host of people that want to solve challenges. We married them together and Hack Baltimore was born.”
Through design jams and an idea portal, the organizing team has been gathering ideas to work on, and engaging with city leaders. With the portal serving as a place to propose problems to solve and form teams, it’s designed to be an open source project that lives on past the weekend, said technology chair and SmartLogic President Yair Flicker.
“This isn’t the type of hackathon where in three days everybody goes back to work or goes home and the project dies,” Dzirasa said. “The view is toward sustainability and making sure that we take the time to fix things and they stay fixed.”