"I have become more and more interested in how the separations and borders I had imagined existed were actually absent. It is a false dualism that separates online and offline lives."
Where exactly do online and offline intersect? It depends, El-Hadi says— marginalised folks have to exercise extreme care as individuals in how they negotiate online spaces, but at the same time, these spaces provide opportunities for connection. They can return control to people of colour: control over their own stories and the spread of information, a control which then manifests in offline spaces as well.
"Silicon Valley is the center for disruption. However, we have to develop an understanding of how the tools, platforms, and services we create impact communities outside our own.”
Our companies and products are a product of the ecosystems they spring from. By making support contingent on entrepreneurs’ relocation Silicon Valley, we end up building technologies which are blind to the needs of the communities most in need of that disruption. Miley’s goal with Venture for America is to take the support which is a given in Silicon Valley and facilitate it in America’s hardest hit cities— bringing disruption and diversity to communities that need them most.
"As more and more money starts to pour into our country’s political process, the need to follow and understand the flow of funds becomes more and more of a necessity.”
We may have mountains of political data at our disposal, but that isn’t enough— how do we know what that data means? How do we unravel the relationships between paperwork across states, the people who collect it, and the data that results? Applying design thinking to political infrastructures, Jon Lewis says, can close that gap by remembering its ultimate goal: to facilitate understanding, and enable people to make better decisions. Written in March of last year, Lewis’ piece is all the more relevant now.
How did tech respond to the Muslim ban?
"The immigration ban is fundamentally UnAmerican." Jeff Lawson, Twilio.
Mark Zuckerberg made a statement, though it wasn't as unequivocal as we may have hoped.
"so un-American it pains us all." Reed Hastings, Netflix
"Let's all find ways to connect people, not separate them." Brian Chesky's (Airbnb) initial statement was lukewarm, but did follow up by offering free lodging to refugees and anyone not allowed into US.
"If this action has not crossed a line for you, I suggest you think now about what your own line in the sand is." Investor Sam Altman's response, too, is a start, but lacked in concrete condemnation.
"The 21st century will be driven by pluralistic economies powered by pluralistic societies." Finally, on my side of the border, the Canadian tech community penned an open letter, calling on the federal government to offer immediate visas to those displaced by the US Executive Order, providing them the ability to live and work here.
What can we do?
Deciding where to start can be overwhelming, and many initiatives have popped up to help us make that decision. Remember, always, to start with self-care.
Tech Diversity: 12 Things Allies Can Do: Start at the individual level. TechInclusion offers this list of twelve things you can start doing right now. It places fundamentals at its foundations. First and foremost, "understand how we got here."
Tech Forward is a list of organisations and projects working for social progress.
Code Against Trump is a Github repo which tracks volunteer-based groups using data and technology to foster societal change.
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