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Fighting for diversity

The JAMStack Conf kicked off yesterday (and continues today), and it has an awesome lineup of speakers.

Yesterday, Rhonda Friberg and Alison Abreu-Garcia from the ACLU presented about how they “leveraged the jamstack to improve developer experience, decrease turnaround time, and deliver impactful digital experiences for rapid response campaigns in defense of our civil rights.”

We can all agree that 2020 has been a big year. There’s a global pandemic forcing everyone to rethink long-held strategies around schooling, voting, health care, and everything in between. We’ve seen a resurgence of public attention on racial justice, immigration, voting rights, and many other social justice campaigns. And there’s a highly anticipated presidential election just around the corner. It may feel like a lot right now, but the fact is that these movements, campaigns, and elections are being fought and won (and sometimes lost) all the time, every day. The American Civil Liberties Union has been fighting for civil rights and civil liberties for a century, but our digital work is young and ever-evolving.

I didn’t see it live, but from what I hear from my friends who were there, a surge of racist, fascist assholes started complaining about “keeping politics out of tech.”

To the credit of the event moderators, they were quickly banned from the conference.

But this incident highlights that we still have a lot of work to do. If you work in this industry, you almost certainly work with people who think black people are naturally not as smart or hard working as white people.

You work with people who think trans women aren’t women. Who assume women aren’t as good at coding as men, or who ask, “but what do you really do,” if they introduce themselves as a programmer. Who donate to politicians and causes that hurt society and make us worse.

You work with assholes.

A little aside: if you feel like I’ve described you personally in the paragraphs above, I invite you to unsubscribe from my newsletter and never buy my stuff.

“Keep politics out of tech” doesn’t work because tech is politics. All of it.

Politics isn’t this separate thing. It influences and impacts every decision we make. Silence? That’s political, too.

If you work in tech and are part of a group that’s not marginalized, you have a responsibility to fight for diversity.

This isn’t just “their” problems. Its ours. We made this mess. It’s on us to help clean it up.

I want to leave with the song “Time Will Tell,” from one of my favorite artists, Marlon Craft (warning, NSFW language).

It looks like reparation, not just in donations It look like time sacrifice structural compensation … It looks like actually carin a lot It looks like their shitty schools becomin our shitty schools And actually integratin’ em til they fair It’s a lot, I know but you asked and i’m tellin you so dont back out now It look like ‘fore jumpin to conclusion, hesitatin It look like excavation, Diggin up your inner hatred that this nation gave us stop pretendin it aint there It look like validatin’ your own pain n still acknowledgin that shit aint fair