06 Feb 2018
I don’t know exactly how it appeared on my timeline, but could not be happier of having attended the first Afrotech Fest:
A two-day tech festival by and for black people of African and Caribbean heritage […] The festival won’t replicate models for tech events, festivals and conferences that currently exist. It will instead explore where technology meets the arts, history, news, activism and representation.
As a white dude my plan was simple: shut up, listen and learn.
One of the first things that caught my attention was how interesectional the event was:
I only know of another festival so on point about D&I and intersectionality and that’s The Lead Developer.
Of the things I managed to attend I would highlight:
Unfortunately I missed a few biggies (as per online reactions): fake news workshop (sorry Alex), crypto workshop, Open Source at Microsoft, self-love with P5.js, democratising VCs and The Matrix and D&I.
The biggest take away for me though is how incredibly important representation is. This is something I already knew, but you could say that this time was painfully, painfully clear. The mix of happiness, admiration and incredulity from the attendees that other people that look like them were in the industry was mind blowing. They are used to work amongst a sea of white faces, most of the times unable to bring their own selves to work. I don’t think we white people appreciate how hard that must be.
Kudos to the organisers and attendees. The talks were great, the atmosphere was great and the people were great.
A++, will do my hardest to attend the next one.
PS: if somehow you still don’t know non-white people in tech to follow in order to increase diversity on your timeline, please head to the speakers list and get following. Also, you can trawl search results for people that tweeted about the event. No more excuses please.
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