Beyond the Usual, Passive DEI Efforts in Tech

Blog:No Justice. No Peace.

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Manny Becerra as a child

June 2020

Black Lives Matter

"Please I can't breathe", were some of George Floyd's final words. Floyd was yet another Black person taken from his family and this world by police officers through racist, inhumane acts. Such senseless, brutal acts—committed by society's authority figures—are a human rights violation that are tragically all too common and experienced by Black, Indigenous and other People of Color.

This is not America.”—Yes, yes it is.

Welcome to 2020 where racism remains deeply rooted in our nation's institutions and social fabric.

"Try to imagine how it must feel for Black Americans when they watch themselves being looted every single day. Police in America are looting black bodies.” — Trevor Noah

If you are aware of those around you, including yourself, saying, "this is not America", because of everything you recently may be witnessing on your phone, TV, newspaper and the streets, know this: this is America. If you doubt this, look around your neighborhood, as you may be expressing the aforementioned, and ask yourself if are you living in a predominantly white, privileged community that is shielding you from the realities of your wider community.

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For many of us in marginalized communities—Black, Indigenous, QTPOC, and other POC—the outright brutal, senseless, and racist acts that you are seeing today is something We have seen and experienced in one variation or another, firsthand most of our lives since consciousness and all the way through grade school, during trips to the park and grocery stores, and, even in the workplace.

To deny this reality, is to deny the meaningful, needed change toward justice and equity for everyone that we need to strive for, and the work and action needed by folks, especially by privileged white people who greatly benefit from sustaining the racist-driven society we currently live in.

Take perpetual, anti-racist action

Don't just be against racism when it's trending on social media, be against it year-round, all the time; extend your prayers and I see you sentiments with anti-racist action, which begins with oneself.

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Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, like myself, are tired—frustrated and angry!—of often only hearing prayers and I see yous without direct action. Individually and collectively, we want—we demand!—tangible action toward justice for us and everyone else, especially from our white friends, neighbors and extended community, whether we know each other directly or not. We ask society, particularly white people, to use their social privilege and power for social change for everyone; we demand to be seen and treated, like whole people. Until there is justice for everyone, there cannot be peace for everyone.

What can you do?

Depending on each of our privileges, we may or may not be able to do certain things that others are able to do, like marching the streets and doing sit-ins, but one thing should be made clear: we all have a role to play in anti-racist work. Perhaps you can't be out on the streets protesting, but calling out racist behavior amongst your family, friends, and oneself when you witness and experience it is something you can absolutely do. To be silent, is to be complicit. And as Bernice King shared:

  • The work is offline.
  • The work is online.
  • The work includes presence.
  • The work includes absence.
  • The work is virtual.
  • The work is in the streets.
  • The work is in legislative halls.
  • The work is in art.
  • The work is in policies.
  • The work is at the polls.
  • The work is where we are.
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Clearly, from Bernice King's list alone, there's plenty one can do to rise and resist hate, and be an agent for change—an agent for social and racial justice. So, again, don't just be anti-racist when it's convenient for you, be anti-racist all the time, even when no one takes notice; and, even when it doesn't directly impact or involve you, your immediate community and world-circle, because, again: no justice (for everyone), no peace (for everyone).

"There is no right way to protest because that's what protest is. Black Americans watch time and time again how the contract that they have signed with society is not being honored by the society that has forced them to sign it with them." — Trevor Noah

Illustrated Protestor Safety Guide

Out protesting? Protect yourself and others.

If you're protesting, please keep the following in mind to protect yourself and other protestors' safety:

  • DO NOT share videos and images of the faces of friends and others protesting

  • In case of tear gas, DO NOT use milk. Water and baking soda solution.

  • In California, you can leverage the Mobile Justice App for recording and reporting police conduct. If this is not available to you, in your state, use your phone's built-in video recorder as a fallback

  • More helpful tips and resources at https://protest.wtf

  • Know Your Rights. If you think your rights have been violated while protesting, try to do the following: Write down everything you remember including officers' badge or patrol car numbers; Get bystanders' contact information for witnesses; Take photos of any injuries and report violations with the American Civil Liberties (ACLU)

Other resources

  • My friends over at Holland Project put together an on-going list of resources for folks—check it out!

  • If you're white and wondering what you can do, check out this guide, Save the Tears, pieced together by Tatiana T. Mac.

#BlackLivesMatter — Yesterday, today & everyday ✊🏽


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Manny Becerra as a child

I operate from a place of compassion, possibility and imagination. My work and efforts share a common goal: create a better, sustainable and equitable world by building inclusive communities, products & experiences.