ONN – AfroTech 2019: Morgan DeBaun Reminds Oakland It’s Cool To Be Black In Tech
A thought about AfroTech in Oakland as I watch the enormous celebration of blacks in tech in my town from 3,000 miles away. I have to thank AfroTech and Blavity Founder Morgan De Baun for putting on AfroTech in the heart of Downtown Oakland. Oakland needs to see this: something that many Oaklanders really haven’t wanted to see: blacks in tech.
As much as residents like me have been in tech, the rest of Oakland acts like it doesn’t want to see us. Sadly, and at the same time, thankfully, it took a complete outsider to come in to Oakland, and turn it’s collective head to pay attention to us. As AfroTech meets, a group of long-time black Oakland residents that became homeless because of the wave of illegal evictions, were forced out of their camp on Wood Street in Oakland.
So, if you’re wondering what happened to the once-great and large population of us in Oakland, the sad fact is that some have passed on, others moved out to the South and Midwest, still others moved out to San Francisco Bay Area suburbs, some like myself remained, and others, sadly, became homeless. There are too many stories that frame what i call the new institutional racism. But all of that can be lessened by a dramatic event.
That’s AfroTech. As much as the white mainstream media and the white tech media may ignore AfroTech, I’m going to fill in the blanks. After all, that’s what it’s all about: blacks making our own systems and networks and events that change the World – and in this case, Oakland. Rock on!
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