What are Hackathons?

Hackathons join technologists (coders), artists (designers), and problem solvers (innovators) to brainstorm, design and build a web or mobile app that can change the world, create a business, or both. Awesome definition thanks to Qeyno. 


"Social justice tech": tech used through and for the work of opening doors to equitable economic, political, and social rights and opportunities for everyone.

What is Civic Hacking?

Civic hacking is using technology and design to make where we live better.

How have other cities leveraged Civic Hacking/Hackathons?

Many cities have leveraged social good hackathons and civic hacking projects to make government work better. Just a few examples include:

  • GreenBookApp, a Project from The White House LGBTQ Tech & Innovation Summit, 2014 that provides LGBTQ and PoC communities with information to inform their interactions with law enforcement, and creates a platform for these communities to give feedback on their interactions.
  • Buscando Maryland, which connects Maryland's Central American children seeking refuge with food, clothing, and other resources.
  • Open Budget Oakland helps the people better understand the city budget by visualizing data, providing a forum for dialogue, and sharing essential information about the budget process.
  • At the Chicago Summit on LGBT Youth Homelessness in May 2014, community organizers realized the need for a website connecting LGBT homeless youth with resources already available to them.
  • Aunt Bertha is an app developed in Austin, Texas that helps users find food, health, housing and employment programs based on their postal code.
  • Cleveland and Akron both have their own Code for America Brigades. Open Cleveland holds a bi-monthly civic hacking Meetup, where people work on civic projects like largelots; a website for people to find and buy City-owned vacant lots.

What is a consent decree and what does it mean for Cleveland?

In short, it’s a settlement of a lawsuit in which a person or company agrees to take specific actions without admitting fault for the situation that led to the lawsuit. In the context of Cleveland:

  • The City of Cleveland has been issued a court enforced consent decree, which is part of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

  • One of the law’s provisions empowers the government to sue police agencies if they exhibit a “pattern and practice” of using excessive force and/or violating people’s civil rights — and compel them to change those practices.

  • On December 4, 2014, the city and DOJ signed a statement of principles committing them to develop a court enforceable consent decree that includes a requirement for an independent monitor who will oversee and ensure necessary reforms.
  • On May 26, 2015, the city and DOJ reached a settlement that will require the Cleveland Police Department to reform their procedures, and it will enforce the practice of properly documenting all encounters. Officers will be barred from using retaliatory violence, and they will be trained in de-escalation tactics. The CPD will collect new data and make an effort to attract a force that better reflects the demographics of the city. See the full agreement here.

FIX 216 was Cleveland's first Social Justice themed civic hackathon.

It was held May 29th and 30th, 2015.


Fix 216 is a civic hackathon that will produce websites, apps, and/or tools that can facilitate open dialogue, idea generation, and awareness-building around public safety, excessive force and the Department of Justice consent decree in Cleveland

This event will:

1) present technology as a way to lift up the work of area residents and organizers and 2) make the case for activism to those who are unfamiliar. 

Fix 216 will also include introductory lessons for people wanting to learn the basics of coding, civic tech, and the process of pitching ideas to investors. This landmark two-day event is open to everyone, community advocates, techies and everyone inbetween.


There are four main issues that Fix 216 will address in this hackathon:

  1. Communities do not know what the consent decree means for them, their neighbors, and their city.

  2. People do not know what their role is in addressing the consent decree for their city - or how to do that.

  3. Good, working, easy to access mechanisms do not exist for people to be active in using the consent decree to make a more cohesive Cleveland.

  4. Cleveland hasn't built an easily accessible two-way road, connecting citizens to decision-makers, which is needed to welcome everyone who desires it, a stake within the solution building process

When and where will the Fix 216 hackathon be held?

May 29 & 30, 2015 | Friday 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm | Saturday  11am - 6:30pm at St. Luke's Auditorium | Inside The Intergenerational School 11327 Shaker Blvd #200W, Cleveland, OH 44104

Is the Fix 216 hackathon free?

Yes, Fix 216 is free to attend.

I DON'T know anything about tech or coding, am I welcome to attend?

Your city, your space! No matter who you are and what skills you bring — it only matters that you care about these issues and want to learn more or help others learn more. Everyone can contribute to making tech solutions — people who know their neighborhood, people who are creative, people who understand systems at work in Cleveland, people who understand systems inside a computer. 


Hack Cleveland is dedicated to providing a safe, respectful and affirming space that is a harassment-free experience for everyone regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, skillset, physical appearance, body size, race, age, or religion. Read our Code of Conduct.

Is this event family friendly, can my kids come?

Fix 216 is a family affair! Families are welcomed and encouraged to attend.

What will the days look like - is there an agenda?

You can see the event agenda, here.

I DON'T live in Cleveland, how can I help?

Fix 216 is open to everyone, this includes remote attendees. Request to join our Slack channel to learn more, hackCLE.slack.com.You can help by spreading the word to your friends and family, and using the hashtags #HackCLE and #Fix216 in social media. Additionally, you can contribute to the open source project(s) after the event by coding, developing content, testing and debugging, or by donating funds to support project sustainability costs. Contact the team to learn more.

WHat Happened at the FIX 216 Civic Hackathon May 29 & 30, 2015?

A diverse group of 70+ attendees came together to create 5 projects addressing various challenges facing Cleveland. The problems addressed were: 

  • Impact of more policing on community safety

  • Cost of implementing the consent decree

  • Consent decree request for increase police accountability, reporting and training without any tools to do so (especially ones that will allow community participation)

  • Limited community engagement in city decision making