News

Hundreds turn out for tech rally against federal policies

Immigration, health care, science, housing and women's rights among the concerns as workers and CEOs vow to fight back

Under the slogan "don't wait for change, create it," hundreds of Silicon Valley workers and supporters rallied against President Donald Trump's administration’s policies on immigration, health care and other issues on Tuesday afternoon in front of Palo Alto City Hall.

The event, sponsored by Tech Stands Up, urged tech workers to promote the values of fact- and science-based truth, inclusion and diversity in the workplace, society and government.

The 26 speakers, from CEOs and venture capitalists to tech-company cafeteria workers, kicked off what organizers hope will grow into a movement to push back on federal policy changes and to make up for deficits that already exist in Silicon Valley, such as under-representation and pay inequality for women and minorities.

"Now is the time to stand up and show these values are more than hoodie slogans," McKensie Lock, Tech Stands Up member, said, noting the group has written a manifesto based on what they say are the Valley’s values.

The event took place on Pi Day because "love, like pi, is infinite," Tech Stands Up co-founder Amber Allred Taylor said.

A group of engineers from Palo Alto company TIBCO Software said they are concerned about the executive order travel ban and order to deport many undocumented immigrants.

Milind Duraphe, an engineer, has lived in the Bay Area for 19 years.

"I'm worried about tolerance. We always had freedom of speech," he said, citing attacks against the press and the singling out of groups of people, such as Muslims and immigrants, as potential forerunners to suppression.

Raj Mashruwala agreed.

"I feel very insecure. I've been in this country for 42 years," Mashruwala, an American citizen, said.

Silicon Valley could be hurt by new federal policies if they hinder the hiring of qualified immigrants. Immigrants have produced some of the area's best scientists, innovators and technologists, including many Nobel Prize winners, he added.

"The technology will go somewhere else," he said.

Others who weren’t necessarily technologists said they were supporting the rally because they are concerned for the nation.

"Where do you even begin? I just don't recognize this country under this administration," said Ginny Contento, a former teacher, who carried a colorful "Silicon Valley -- Powered by Diversity" sign.

Stan Sinberg was selling buttons and hats for Pi Day and ones with messages such as "Is it 2020 yet?" and "Another Nasty Woman Against Trump." Business appeared to be brisk.

"I was in swing states before the election, I hoped to go out of business on Election Day, but I didn’t," he said.

Brad Taylor, founder of Tech Stands Up, said that the organizers invited 15 nonprofit groups to participate, including the United Farm Workers, and groups supporting service workers and affordable housing and opposing the spread of misinformation (or what has otherwise been called "fake news") on the internet.

Aviv Ovadya, a technologist, represented a coalition of groups working to identify and quantify false information on the internet. The group is building an organization that can track what is read and the credibility of the sources to measure the impact of misinformation on the online "ecosystem." The group wants to collaborate with tech companies that have the data to gauge the extent of misinformation and to figure out ways to prevent its spread, he said.

Any Debaets, an engineer, said he is working on software that could help nonprofit groups manage databases and find the most efficient ways to distribute their information. One main goal is to create software that could help win Democratic congressional campaigns in 2018. The software would complement existing database and phone-banking software.

As an example, registered Democrats in a city could be identified by street of residence and targeted for a phone campaign to place signs in their yards, he said.

"We would work closely with people who have run urban and rural campaigns to identify what features would be useful," he said, noting they are currently finding and talking to campaign managers.

Taylor said a hackathon is planned for April 7-9 and is the next step to find ways to protect immigrants and refugees, free speech and freedom of the press.

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Comments

6 people like this
Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2017 at 9:49 am

Protests & Rally's. Like most, within a few days, nobody will ever remember this happened. Andy warhol's 15 minutes of fame is alive and well.

BTW. It's odd how the Tech Community is trying to champion the illegals, but on the other hand moving forward with job-killing technology that effect primarily the illegals!


15 people like this
Posted by The Donny Remembers!
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 16, 2017 at 10:36 am

"Like most, within a few days, nobody will ever remember this happened."

Except Donny, who still remembers that the Woman's March completely outnumbered his inauguration the week before.

Sad!

Loser!


Like this comment
Posted by Paint contractor
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 20, 2017 at 4:32 pm

A bad say for Trump and his Russian connections.

Why on earth does Trump stand behind his Obama Tapp lie, when it just brings more attention to his campaign's connections to Russian intelligence agencies?

Dude is either playing 3d chess, or a complete idiot.


2 people like this
Posted by what's the plan
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2017 at 4:49 pm

I've heard hundreds of condemnations but

I've never heard a contrary plan on immigration,


4 people like this
Posted by Pitt, Cherie
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm

The Bush McCain Dem plan from 2002-4 period.

Young'ens... sheesh.

Or you could go all Reagan and do another amnesty.

Painter
He lies. Get used to it. Until the GOP is finished with him and impeaches.


6 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2017 at 1:19 pm

The Silicon Valley business model explained in 15 seconds:

1. Eliminate as many jobs as possible by developing and selling automation.
2. Export any jobs that can't be easily automated to corrupt low-wage nations.
3. Import workers from low-wage nations to suppress wages for all of the jobs that can't be exported.

Pretend it is all about inclusion and diversity. If anyone challenges the model, call them a "raciss".


Like this comment
Posted by The Donny Remembers!
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 26, 2017 at 10:59 am

"Like most, within a few days, nobody will ever remember this happened. Andy warhol's 15 minutes of fame is alive and well."

15 minutes of fame... I'm sorry, were you referring to the 15 minutes of TrumpCare before it was shot down?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: other

on Mar 26, 2017 at 6:45 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: other

on Mar 26, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: other

on Mar 26, 2017 at 6:52 pm

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