I haven’t posted anything in over a year, but since I haven’t seen a decent coverage/op-ed piece on the Google bus protest, I just decided to rant a little!
No one likes to be called out as being privileged. But sometimes, you need a little wake up call, like the one some Googlers got this morning on their shuttle in the Mission.
It’s annoying how people who work in tech are getting defensive. COME ON. We all know the tech industry has fundamentally changed the fabric of SF and has been at the core of the major and rapid gentrification happening (or already completed) in many neighborhoods. Rents are increasing (yay SF is number 1! being at the top of anything is a good thing, right?), nonprofits are being forced to move across the bay due to increasing rents, and lawyers are giving landlords free workshops on how to evict their tenants. People are not upset because the shuttles are taking over the muni stops. People are upset the tech industry (and the people in it) is not giving back — and definitely not nearly enough to justify or compensate for the perceived and real inequities and income gaps. Hell, talk about being “disruptive!”
IF YOU FEEL UNDER ATTACK, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
Wear your company’s shirt and volunteer at nonprofits, help fundraise to support a cause, convince your company to donate to a local org, spend some time learning about all the displacements and evictions happening in the city, pass out donuts in the morning at your shuttle stop (jk, maybe), find out what types of policy recommendations we can get behind, start a petition, build an app that helps solve a problem (no, not your late night food ordering problem), donate your time and talent to mentor underprivileged youth. We must work – I mean WORK – until the community starts acknowledging us as community members, neighbors, not intruders.
I am in tech. I am privileged. I am the shuttle. But I refuse to be the one sitting in the backseat looking out the window and tweeting on my phone. Get off the shuttle and use your privilege to bridge the gap.
I truly believe people in tech can make great, lasting impacts in our community. I work with some of the brightest and most creative people I’ve ever met, and I constantly wonder what type of change we can make collectively if the tech community really thought long and hard about how to solve difficult social issues.
To help you give back, check out some of my favorite local nonprofits:
- Lyric empowers queer youth at individual and institutional levels
- Black Girls Code empowers young girls of color to get into STEM
- Larkin Street Youth Services provides shelter and opportunities to homeless youth
- Transgender Law Center recently relocated to the East Bay due to a rent increase
- Juma Ventures sends low-income students to college
Please share your favorite local organizations in the comments!