Catherine Bracy wasn’t all that surprised when her tech colleagues in Silicon Valley began publicly protesting President Trump’s executive order on immigration earlier this year. “There’s a spirit of hacking which is anti-authoritarian,” the tech veteran tells us. “It comes from a place of asking why. Why do things work the way they do [and] how they might work better.”
Bracy has devoted her career to harnessing the skills of the tech sector for the good of local governments and national political campaigns. She worked on the tech side of Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign and then became a senior director at Code for America. Last year, Bracy left the organization to co-found the TechEquity Collaborative, which works to ensure that the tech-driven economy in California’s Bay Area benefits all its residents.
It’s an economy fueled by many highly skilled immigrants, who moved to the area to launch start-ups and to work for the region’s more established tech giants. She says the region’s diverse tech sector is concerned about something more “fundamental and visceral” than company profits that might be at risk under Trump’s plans. She says they fear an assault on the values of openness and connectedness that drew many of them to the Internet in the first place. “This is a moment where those values are really being threatened in a fundamental way,” she says.
Bracy’s latest initiative is called Tech Resistance, which she helped launch following Trump’s inauguration, galvanized by what she saw as a renewal of civic activism within the tech community. Bracy hopes the collaborative will give voice to what she calls the tech world’s silent majority. “There is a vast tech community that isn’t represented,” she says. “And they don’t really have anyone to speak for them. Tech Resistance is an opportunity to rally them, and to organize them into a really meaningful and powerful political force.”
Tech Resistance website
TechEquity Collaborative website
Bracy’s TED Talk: Why hackers make good citizens
San Francisco Chronicle article: Tech firms find their voice in resisting Trump, for now
Bracy on Twitter
Featured Image: Catherine Bracy