Jim: With politics being one of the most contentious topics in America right now, ordinary citizens are engaging in activism efforts in increasing numbers, and a Chicago startup wants to help.
Gather, a centralized online platform for political activism, provides users with tools to organize every aspect of their civic engagement work, including group communications, connecting with others and coordinating rallies or demonstrations.
Katherine: Founded in June by two juniors at the University of Chicago, Gather lets users set up a profile and choose from a list of 23 causes that they’re passionate about. Topics range from animal rights and immigration rights, to progressive healthcare reform and criminal justice reform.
“We allow them to access a wider pool of activists,” Co-Founder Alexander Swerdlow told us. “Rather than just posting to 100 activists in a Facebook group, they’re able to access thousands of activists across the entire city.”
Gather is currently available on desktop only, but it plans to launch an app later next month. The idea spawned after the 2016 election and the intense political climate that followed, resulting in numerous rallies and marches across the U.S.
Jim: Gather advertises itself as a non-partisan platform and is open to activists and organizations of all political beliefs, both liberal and conservative.
But it’s taking steps from the get-go to stomp out hate groups. The platform is not open to groups like the KKK and other white supremacy groups, Swerdlow told us, adding that the startup is taking steps to prevent these types of users from joining.
Read More: These UChicago Students Want to Make it Easier for Political Activists to Organize