Connecting People and Amplifying Power: Tech and Revolution in Los Angeles

by Adrian Martinez, Membership Organizer

This past Saturday, March 23, Team #MediaJustice and our MediaJustice Network members, May First People Link, 18 Million Rising, Asian Americans Advancing Justice LA, and Stop LAPD Spying, gathered for our latest Tech and Revolution conversation at the Los Angeles Community Action Network in occupied Tongva territory. This gathering was a part of our Defend Our Movements Tour which has gone across the country convening political organizers, technologists, community members, and organizations to strategize around the role of technology in ushering in justice and equity.

Bianca Nozaki Nasser of 18 Million Rising introduces Tech & Revolution participants to the Los Angeles Community Action Network space. (Photo Credit: Adrian Martinez)
Hamid Khan of Stop LAPD Spying Coalition outlines where predictive policing takes place across Los Angeles. (Photo Credit: Bianca Nozaki Nasser)

More than 1,000 people have come together thus far in New York, New Mexico, and California to discuss the ways technology impacts and influences our movement work. In this current political climate and digital age, how can we keep our communities safe in the streets while amplifying our voices online? How is the same technology that we use to organize being used to further criminalize, target, police, surveillance, and red-line marginalized communities of color?

Tech & Revolution participants identify intersections between technology and their respective movement work. (Photo Credit: Bianca Nozaki Nasser)

Building off the discussions had during our previous events on the tour, the Los Angeles community came together to build and talk about regional-specific needs, challenges, and trends in technology. Participants came from varied backgrounds and are mobilizing across a number of movements including human rights, racial justice, immigrant justice, LGBTQ justice, dismantling the police stalker state, and lifting up the ways technologists can better align with grassroots organizers. Over the course of the day, participants mapped out the needs of Los Angelenos and the ways technology is a source of harm. A major theme that was uncovered was the real need to develop a shared understanding of technology in order to demystify its role in our lives. We all use technology and particularly for political organizers, it is a critical tool to connect with people, mobilize masses, and amplify stories. However, these same tools have been and are being used by people who want to harm our communities, as well as by institutions that promote white supremacy.

A Tech & Revolution participant reflects on what communities they belong to and what communities their movement work serves. (Photo Credit: Bianca Nozaki Nasser)

Additionally, Tech and Revolution Conversation participants discussed privacy and the history of surveillance dating back to COINTELPRO and lantern laws, as well as the ways we see it manifesting today with the FBI’s “Black Identity Extremist” program and predictive policing in Los Angeles. These conversations informed several emerging points of unity on technology’s role in our movements. These points look to expand and inform a unified strategy on how we use technology, how we protect the technology we use, and how we identify our technological needs to secure our movements.

Jerome Scott of May First/People Link speaks to the relationship between technology and fascism. (Photo Credit: Bianca Nozaki Nasser)

As our partners at May First People Link continue to take these conversations across the country, we encourage you to reach out to Adrian Martinez, Team #MediaJustice’s Membership Organizer, to find out how you can get involved with Defend Our Movements.

LA Tech & Revolution Conversation facilitators (L-R): Adrian Martinez (Center for Media Justice), Jerome Scott (May First/People Link), Kyla Massey (Center for Media Justice), Bianca Nozaki Nasser (18 Million Rising), Alfredo Lopez (May First/People Link), Lucas Lopez (May First/People Link) Not pictured: Hamid Khan (Stop LAPD Spying) and Ken Montenegro (Advancing Justice Los Angeles) (Photo Credit: Bianca Nozaki Nasser)

Together, we can create paths to digital sanctuary for everyone. Check out the #DefendOurMovements knowledge base to get your specific digital security questions answered and more.