I work in tech. My job has super cool perks like free crossfit, spa water on every floor, and a salary that allows me to live in the most expensive area of the country. I take the BART from West Oakland to Civic Center to get to the office, located about a block away from the station, and I am continually humbled and reminded of my privilege. It's a rare day that I don't pass someone with a needle. The station is littered with the slim orange caps that I had previously associated with insulin and allergy shots.
The contrast between the Civic Center BART station and my posh office is stark. And while it's a mind-boggling thought experiment to calculate just how little* you'd be left with at the end of the month if your income was the median value for the zip code of my just-outside-of-mid-Market office and the average rent for a 1BR San Francisco apartment, it's not just a gedanken exercise, it's real life for some.
In an effort to address some of this immense economic disparity, my friend Michelle started a non-profit called Techtonica. Techtonica is a 6 month program that enables low-income women and non-binary adults to gain the skills they need to work in tech. While many similar coding programs cost tens of thousands of dollars (thereby being vastly out of reach for most people) with no guarantee of future employment, Techtonica is free to the students and has jobs lined up for graduates. In addition, students are provided with a laptop, a living stipend, and free child care. In order to provide these incredible benefits, Michelle is currently fundraising through IndieGoGo.
If this is something that speaks to you, please get involved! Make a tax-deductible donation. Spread the word through Twitter (and use the hashtag #BridgeTheTechGap), Facebook, and your personal network. Volunteer at tech workshops or help organize or package some of the seriously awesome campaign perks.
You can read more about Techtonica and the income disparity it is working to relieve from Michelle's Medium post and find Techtonica on Twitter @techtonicaorg and Facebook.