San Francisco Tech Workers, Housing Activists Clash at Happy Hour

San Francisco Tech Workers, Housing Activists Clash at Happy Hour

See on Scoop.it - Startup & Silicon Valley News, Culture The 100 or so tech workers, packed into a Mission District...


See on Scoop.it - Startup & Silicon Valley News, Culture

The 100 or so tech workers, packed into a Mission District bar with activists and politicians, expected a dialogue about San Francisco's high-speed gentrification - and how to stop it.

15 minutes in, they had already been told by activist Alicia Garza that the people responsible for the "flavor" that draws people to the city are "the folks who were living here before."

Fred Sherburn-Zimmer, the next housing rights advocate at the mike, reminded the crowd that the people who give San Francisco its character - think murals, street festivals, and the city's progressive roots - are being forced out due to the booming tech economy. Sherburn-Zimmer's voice was shaky as she continued, but she found enough confidence to tell tech workers that they benefit from privilege when it comes to media coverage, since reporters dotted the room that night but are usually absent from activists' protests.

The "Tech Workers Against Displacement Happy Hour," led by a union organizer and a tech worker, had advertised itself as a place where tech workers "sick of being blamed for SF's housing crisis" could come together to find solutions.

Brian Hanlon, a 31-year-old Forest Service employee, told tech workers to leverage their companies' resources and encourage employers to "do the right thing." "If your firm is having trouble finding a great new acquisition target and they have tons of money sitting around, maybe you can encourage them to donate some of that to these (housing) nonprofits as well," he said. Another man who didn't want to give his name, but said he was from the dot-com boom and called himself "part of the new upper class of Silicon Valley," encouraged tech employees to "acknowledge our privilege" and "listen to people's stories of eviction instead of looking at our phones."

See on www.sfgate.com

Journalist

My name is John Boitnott and I am a tech writer and digital media consultant. I write for Inc.com, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, USAToday and others. I have held dozens of positions at various TV newsrooms in the state of California. I worked in TV news from 1994 to 2009. I was a web editor for years at KNTV, the NBC station in the San Francisco Bay Area. held freelance writing positions at KGO, KRON and KPIX in San Francisco as well. I worked as a radio anchor, assignment desk manager, reporter, editor and producer at KEYT in Santa Barbara for 10 years.

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