arch 14th, otherwise known as “Pi Day”, is a day typically reserved for math enthusiasts to geek out over one of their favorite irrational numbers and indulge in some delicious pie. But today, it became a day for many tech workers in Silicon Valley to defend their values and protest against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
The event, organized by the activist group Tech Stands Up, aimed to urge tech leaders to use their platform to speak out against Trump’s policies, many of which affect the thousands of immigrants working in the tech industry and in the Silicon Valley. Over 1,700 people indicated on Facebook that they would attend the event, which was held outside of Palo Alto’s City Hall. Employees from companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple are amongst a few of the many tech workers that came out to protest and listen to the line-up of speakers. Some of the two dozen people scheduled to speak were Aatif Awan, Vice President of Growth at LinkedIn, Arturo Rodriguez, president of United Farm Workers (UFW) and Maria Gonzales, a janitor at Facebook who was invited to speak about the importance of immigrants working blue-collar jobs in the tech industry.
This rally was not the only form of protest against the Trump Administration that the tech industry has seen lately. In January, hundreds of Google employees in Mountain View and offices across the country walked out to protest against Trump’s travel ban. Similarly, in February, Comcast employees walked out in Philadelphia to protest against the same travel ban. TSU also plans to host a hackathon in early April to connect developers with nonprofits, activists, journalists and others who work on public policy.
Living in the heart of Silicon Valley and the birthplace of Apple, many students like junior Anisha Kollareddy find the recent demonstrations inspiring.
“I like that they are encouraging other people in power to take action for us,” Kollareddy said. “It’s not just our representatives that can represent us. We are lucky to have [influential companies]in our area to represent us.”
And that’s exactly what Brad Taylor, co-founder of TSU, desires to achieve.
“With great power, comes great responsibility,” Taylor wrote in a manifesto about the event. “With its talents and resources, tech has the duty to stand up and be a leader for progress, especially when there is a lack of leadership in Washington.”