In celebration of Juneteenth, Black in Tech Nashville hosted a citywide networking event about black liberation and technology. There were libations, snacks, and much talk about building a thriving black tech ecosystem in Nashville. The event was designed to accommodate black people in tech or those who desire to be in tech (e.g. both technical and non-technical). The event was held Friday, June 21, 2019, at the Google Fiber Space, 1108 Division Street, Nashville.
According to Google Fiber host Daynise Joseph, it is fitting to observe Juneteenth from a technology perspective because information is a key component of technology. Juneteenth is about the two year gap between the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the enslaved in 1863, and about keeping the information that blacks were free from them until 1865. The intent of Black in Tech Nashville’s events like this are to make sure that similar gaps in information don’t cripple us as a people today.
“I’m meeting people from all over the world here in Nashville,” said Timothy Hughes. “It’s an honor to be in a room with people who are like-minded and we’re interested in helping to bridge these gaps now. We’re really looking to create opportunity and access for everyone and make that a broad-spectrum and everybody can fit into it.
“There are parts of the state and parts of the city that really don’t have as much access to rapid wi-fi as many other parts of the city, and many of those areas are under-represented, under-resourced economically. Helping to bridge those gaps and create opportunities of access is really something that we all care about care about deeply.”
“I advocate for a better world as relates to access for us,” said Dr. Fallon Wilson, a founder of Black in Tech Nashville. “Our sweat and our blood actually built this country’s wealth. We have always been inventors and creators even when we were forced to be. We’re all doing amazing work as it relates to policy and digital inclusion as relates to working in tech companies and getting degrees in STEM, but there has to be some type of ecosystem built around that, so that’s what we’re committed to.”
The hosts closed the event with a group sing-a-long of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” followed by their Black Tech Unity Chant: “We commit ourselves to the liberation of black people in tech. We commit ourselves to building a thriving black tech ecosystem for black people in Nashville. We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams, FREE PEOPLE, loving, imagining, dreaming for our People. Ashe.”
You are encouraged to join the movement at one of the monthly meetings you can attend. Check their website http://blackintech alliance.org and or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BlackInTechNashville/ to join and get details. Mark your calendars for these upcoming networking dates: August 16, September 20, October 11, and November 15, at 7:00 pm with locations TBA.