I had a hard time writing this letter. How do you summarize 2020? Every year brings its challenges, but this one was unlike any other, to put it mildly. The COVID-19 pandemic brought hardship to all and devastation to many. The public health and economic repercussions won’t be fully known for years. Racial equity issues that have been simmering just below the surface exploded into mainstream consciousness, causing a painful reckoning that isn’t close to resolved. Yet still, there were shining moments of people coming together and taking care of each other. To paint this year as any one thing would be a disservice to those who lost their lives, those who’ve suffered, and to those who have persevered despite all the challenges thrown their way.
For TechEquity, 2020 was supposed to be the year we doubled down on pushing for systemic change to address our deeply-rooted affordability issues. We were getting ready to draw even more tech workers and companies into the movement for economic equity and justice. We prepped for a blockbuster year of housing legislation, historic tax reform, worker protections, and racial justice. Instead, our legislators, budgets, and neighbors were forced into damage control, trying to prevent people from falling through the widening gaps.
If 2020 taught us anything, it is that those of us in the tech industry have outsized civic power, from the ways we shape technology to the political leverage our privilege holds.
While the pandemic was—and is—a global experience, its impacts have been far from universal; COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated the deep rifts in our economy that led me to start TechEquity in the first place. Now, as we think about a post-COVID future, it’s clear that the divide between the tech workers who were relatively unscathed by the economic fallout and our neighbors and coworkers who have been on the frontlines of the destruction will become even wider.
Even though we were physically distanced, our community came together in amazing ways this year. Tech workers and other members of the community tuned into more than 40 virtual events, volunteers banked thousands of calls in support of Prop 15, and our campaign coalitions fought like hell for social and economic justice on the November ballot.
We knew from the start that passing Prop 15 would be a Herculean effort. It took a statewide coalition of organizations to get as close as we did, and TechEquity was a huge part of that. They brought a fresh set of constituents into this decades-long fight, helping us tip the scales and change the narrative on how we take care of each other in California.
– Ben Grieff, Campaign Director at Evolve California and SCF Executive Committee Member
TechEquity creates a space that allows us all, especially tech workers, to get more civically engaged and involved with the public sector. The events I’ve been to are facilitated in a way that eases beginners into the legislative space while having speakers with such a vast amount of knowledge. There’s always room for discussion and friendly debates surrounding these important, multi-faceted topics.
– Kevin Lee, Tech Worker and TechEquity Member
TechEquity’s advocacy on SB 902 and other key bills demonstrates their unwavering commitment to building housing at all levels of affordability in California. As we navigate the impacts of the pandemic moving forward, I’m grateful to have their partnership in the fight to fix our housing crisis.
– State Senator Scott Wiener