We envision a world where the growth of the tech industry creates economic prosperity for everyone, and where tech sector employees and companies are engaged and active participants in making our economy equitable.
Our mission is to mobilize tech workers and companies to advance structural change that addresses economic inequity at its roots.
We educate the tech community on economic justice, advocate for bold public policy, and develop equitable corporate practices that build equity and opportunity in the broader economy.
We create educational spaces in which the tech community can deepen their understanding of structural inequities, the history behind them, and the solutions we can enact together.
We advocate for public policy that addresses structural inequity in our economy. We work on issues that have a nexus with tech and the economy, with a focus on housing and workforce & labor.
Racism is embedded in our economic, political, and social systems. It’s embedded in us all. To do this work right, we practice anti-racism both internally in our organizational practices and externally in our education, our public policy advocacy, and in our corporate guidance. That means being explicit about how racism and racial bias are produced and maintained in our issue areas, and crafting policy solutions that build racial equity in response.
Antiracist: One who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea…An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups. By policy, I mean written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups.
– Ibram X. Kendi
We know that in order to achieve true economic justice and resilience for all, we need bold solutions to our urgent problems. At the same time, our approach to developing these solutions must be grounded in a deep understanding of history and strong trusted relationships with our most impacted communities. We can’t hack our way out of these problems; we need to work together to enact thoughtful, long-term solutions.
We recognize that our organization and our members come from a place of privilege. We know that we’re working alongside people and communities that have been under-resourced and marginalized for decades, and so we show up conscious of the space we take and use our power to center the voices of those who are closest to the problems.
We see ourselves as adding capacity to existing struggle while providing leadership in the spaces where we’re needed. We believe in the adage “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”
Our policy positions are determined through consultation with our members, our community partners, our expert advisors, and our staff. We ground all of our decision-making in our issue area platforms (housing and workforce & labor).
While we value our corporate partners and institutional funders, they do not have a say in the development of our policy positions. Our corporate partnerships are crucial for driving equitable corporate practice, but we often disagree on key points of policy. We have taken—and will continue to take—publicly divergent stances on key issues. We view our independent, honest, and sometimes contrary voice as a value to our corporate partners and only work with partners who feel the same.
For too long, the tech industry has created a siloed existence for its workers, away from the communities in which they live and work. We believe that connecting tech workers to their neighbors is critical for making the tech industry an equitable force in our economy. We seek out opportunities to build bridges between people and groups, establishing common ground from which we can work together.
We are a community that appreciates a wide range of perspectives—as long as those perspectives respect everyone’s humanity. We know that we each come into this work from different experiences and that learning from our differences is a generative process.
We strive to create a safe space for learning. That means fostering sometimes-difficult conversations that are always held in good faith and assume the willingness of participants to reach clarity and understanding, if not consensus.
We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.
– Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones Jr.)
While charity work has value, it isn’t what we do. Our work focuses on addressing the root causes of inequity, the upstream forces that create the need for charity in the first place. We believe that those root causes are fundamental power imbalances and that in order to achieve our vision, we have to rebalance power through systems change and policy advocacy.
In 2017, our CEO and Co-Founder Catherine Bracy was struck by the stark divide between the Silicon Valley tech industry and the surrounding communities in the Bay Area, epitomized by Google buses and reinforced by high-profile missteps by tech companies and their leaders. Her idea for TechEquity crystallized when Uber announced they were bringing thousands of good jobs to downtown Oakland—an area desperate for economic investment—and the community protested against their arrival. She wondered: how did we get to a place where a booming economy was seen as a threat to many and, more importantly, how could we move to a place where a growing tech economy is a boon for everyone, not just a few? What would need to happen for tech to be felt as a force for widespread opportunity instead of displacement?
As we got to work answering those questions, we quickly realized that it wouldn’t be enough to focus solely on fixing the problems of the tech industry. While tech was clearly exacerbating inequality, the seeds for these economic injustices were planted long before the tech industry reigned, back when Silicon Valley was still farmland. In order for the growth of the tech industry to produce widespread prosperity, we would have to tackle those issues. Tech workers and companies had largely been absent from conversations about how to fix these problems, despite their prominence in the economy. They needed to come to the table to work alongside policymakers and community stakeholders to drive long-term, meaningful solutions.
We became a conduit for the tech community to do just that. When we put out the call, tech workers answered. They rolled up their sleeves in partnership with community organizations to advocate for economic equity in city halls and the State Capitol, and we won major victories as a result.
The more we focused on the interaction between tech and their neighbors, the more we understood how tech is also building inequity into their internal practices, products, and business models—with global consequences. From the industry’s labor practices to the rise of crypto, tech is gaining massive control over our economy.
While the tech industry consolidates power, its workers have the opportunity to use their privilege to ensure that their industry is a force for equity and justice in the larger economy. Our work now is to guide the tech community into existing movements for justice. By doing so, we advance public and corporate policy that enables the tech industry to create real prosperity for everyone.