The November 2016 acclamation acquired an existential crisis for Leigh Honeywell, a Canadian aegis architect who was alive for Slack in the Bay Area. “After the election, I acquainted absolutely acerb the alarm to act. And I wasn’t abiding what that activity [should be],” says Honeywell, who had donated abstruse abetment to the Hillary Clinton campaign. “Is this article area I go home and assignment on acclamation aegis aback home?”
But she was anon encouraged at the end of the ages by seeing “a lot of new faces” at a affair of tech workers and activists for a new alignment alleged Tech Solidarity. From there, Honeywell brought calm added techies to ability the Never Again pledge, active by over 2,800 tech-industry workers in December 2016. Each promised to not assignment on projects they begin to be immoral.
Honeywell emphasizes that Never Again was not a petition, which she derides as a supplication. “It actuality a pledge, it’s a account of people’s values, a account of accomplishments that bodies are activity to take, or not take, accustomed a accurate circumstance.” Those accomplishments accept gone as far as quitting, as engineers from Google accept done this year over an AI activity for the Pentagon and a censored chase agent for the Chinese government.
The stakes weren’t as aerial for Honeywell. “I didn’t face after-effects because my aggregation was actual supportive,” she says. “And I was able to admit the advice of bodies who [weren’t in a] ambiguous clearing situation.” But she abstruse to accumulate a low contour for addition reason: her affiliation with a hot tech startup. “The columnist was like a agglomeration of wolves for annihilation that had to do with Slack,” she says. “There was a crisis in the columnist authoritative it about ‘Slack agent does X,’ adjoin ‘A agglomeration of tech advisers do X.’”
Related: How tech workers became activists
Never Again was one in a alternation of Honeywell’s activism projects, including awareness-raising “pranks” like Ally Bingo, surreptitiously alien at the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing appointment (where Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella fabricated his abominable “trust karma” comment). During an all-man console about “Male Allies” of women in tech, hundreds of attendees arrested off squares on a bingo agenda apparent with anticipated actions, such as “Calls a woman articulate” and “Name-drops Sheryl Sandberg” (Facebook’s COO).
“About center through the panel, somebody absolutely got up and yelled ‘Bingo!’ Everybody aloof affectionate of absent it,” says Honeywell. The achievement motivated some of the men to authority a “listening session” the aing day. “Several hundred women abounding and got to be like, ‘No, absolutely this is my acquaintance at your aggregation with gender discrimination, so don’t you get up on date in advanced of me and acquaint me how alarming you are,’” she recalls.
Outside the spotlight, Honeywell has spent years counseling whistleblowers and animal abandon victims on how to handle online harassment. “I formed with a cardinal of bodies in the accomplishments aftermost abatement as the #metoo being was bustling and helped them lock themselves bottomward afore they went public,” she says, as an example.
Now Honeywell is converting that advance assignment into a business, alleged Tall Poppy. It will action amusing media counseling as a account that companies accommodate their workers, like bloom allowance adjoin trolls. “Online aggravation disproportionately targets women, disproportionately targets bodies of color, LGBT [people], association with disabilities. I appetite to get administration to pay for it for their accomplished agent abject in adjustment to be able to calibration up the service,” says Honeywell. ” This is basically what I’ve capital to do for the accomplished 10 years.”
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