Chi Hack Night stands with the Black Lives Matter movement
Published on Jun 6, 2020 by The Chi Hack Night Board of Directors
Summary of our conversations for Chi Hack Night’s 400th Episode
Chi Hack Night stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We commit to the fight to end systemic racism and injustice.
For real system change to be achieved, we cannot remain silent or on the sidelines. We must also take this time to listen, reflect and learn while also having our voice heard as part of a broader movement. We must not only commit to not be racist, but to be actively anti-racist - to speak out and act when we see racism, and to make changes within our own organizations and personal lives, seeking to fundamentally transform institutions of systemic opression and to root out default white culture that permeates our society. We seek to celebrate and affirm the multiplicity of perspectives, stories and peoples essential to the weaving of a more equitable American fabric.
We must also acknowledge the role that technology and the broader tech community continues to play in reinforcing and even expanding the impact of existing racial biases. Technology is political. What we choose to build, who builds it and the design choices we make are all political decisions, regardless of our intention or lack thereof. We must recognize this and do the hard work to address these realities accordingly.
If you’re looking for information or resources on how to take action, there are many ways to help depending on your resources, ability and context. These are some of the local organizations that are leading the movement for black lives here in Chicago:
- Assata’s Daughters: https://www.assatasdaughters.org/donate-1
- Black Lives Matter Chicago: https://www.blacklivesmatterchicago.com/donate/
- BYP100: https://www.byp100.org/
- Chicago Freedom School: https://chicagofreedomschool.org/support-us/donate/
- Circles and Cyphers: http://www.circlesandciphers.org/
- Chicago Community Bond Fund has received many donations, and is recommending many other organizations to also support: https://twitter.com/ChiBondFund/status/1266781246279094275
Reflecting on our 400th episode
For our 400th episode, we hosted a remote group conversation on Actions Towards Racial Justice. Over 40 participants attended. We broke out into smaller, facilitated groups to have a focused conversation on three main questions:
- Check-in: how are you doing? How are you feeling?
- Which of the elements of white supremacy can you identify in your life and in the current media and narrative of the protests?
- What actions, if any, are you planning to take after this conversation? It could be donating to an advocacy group, reading a book by a black author, checking in on and supporting your friends, committing to make change at your company or neighborhood, or something else.
The larger group then reconvened and the smaller groups took turns sharing what they discussed. Many participants expressed anger, fear, grief, mourning and frustration, but also hope.
We will be continuing to bring people together to have these vital conversations and to challenge each other to remain accountable. At Chi Hack Night, we commit to continuing to host diverse speakers, encourage attendees and members to support racial equity, spotlight civic tech’s role and potential for harm and deepen our own diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.