By Serin Sarsour
A new age of activism is on the horizon, and an app called Civic is responsible for it. Since graduating from Georgetown University this past May, Matias Burdman and Thomas Connelly have devoted their time to co-founding and building the app that intends to increase civic participation and make it easier for people to get involved.
“Right now, we are an app where you can download it and instantly find every protest, rally, volunteering opportunity, community event happening in your area. And we are soon going to be coming out with more features like the ability to donate to organizations and keep track of what they’re doing,” said Connelly.
Burdman and Connelly mentioned that the death of George Floyd in May 2020 and the resulting protests inspired them to create Civic. “[… ] It became kind of crystal clear to Thomas and I that there wasn’t a central place to find information about what was happening, how to get involved, who was organizing things, and that it would be really valuable to everyone if someone would actually build that,” Burdman explained.
Although Burdman and Connelly were eager to create Civic for people looking to get involved and help out in their communities, they faced a few obstacles. “I think the biggest challenge is just letting people know that we’re out there,” Burdman said.
The pair, however, have been working on the app’s exposure, connecting with activists and protestors in demonstrations.“We figured that since those people are already at an event, they might be interested in hearing about new ones and future ways to get involved,” Burdman explained.
Creating the app has affected the Georgetown alums in many ways, allowing them to better understand how people advocate and fight for their causes. “I think that does change you. And it makes us, even maybe more than before, want to help out in any way possible,” Burdman said.
Additionally, Connelly expressed the perspective he has gained from working closely with protest organizers in the Big Apple. “[…] We’re really reaching out to every corner of the kind of activist landscape here in New York City… getting a sense of every and all kinds of difficulties that they’re running into, which has been pretty eye-opening for us,” said Connelly.
Burdman and Connelly emphasized the importance of incorporating a social component within the app alongside the current informational aspect. With that, the future of Civic aims to strengthen communities and bring people together in the wake of activism and similar issues that they care about with active support groups.
Along with its main features, such as the map section where you can see what protests and other events are occurring in your area, Civic also serves as a hub where you can meet new people, organize events with them, and fight for what you believe in together.
“We’re always looking for feedback!,” said Burdman. “We want this to be an app that’s fundamentally built by activists and activist groups and then also for activists.”