What if, you spent your entire life knowing you wanted to do something to change the world. What if, as a little bi -racial girl growing up in the 80’s you dreamed of being a gamer geek, computer nerd, sci-fi dork, just like your brothers. What if you spent your entire adult life doing everything but the things you dreamed of? I dreamed of being Marie Curie, Katherine Johnson, Mae Jemison or hey, just me.
I am often asked, “What do you do in your spare time for fun?”
Years before I took on the daunting task of teaching myself to code and be a better developer, the answer to that question would always be “I play the bass, I write bass songs, it’s all about that bass.” Now, in my spare time I look for open source projects that make the world a better place. I attempt to contribute, and I fall short. PR’s rejected with no commentary. PR’s accepted with no commentary. Look I understand that most Open Source projects are us volunteering our time for free, but there HAS to be a better way to know you have contributed.
What did I do to resolve this? I started thinking about all the places I could help out. I literally picked up the phone (or emailed) the organisations that I knew, that little bi-racial nerd, geek, dork would one day contribute to!
I called The Innocence Project, on the phone, and spoke to several lawyers and asked them: “what can I do as a developer to make your job easier.”
I emailed The Center for Domestic Peace in Marin , an organisation started to give resources to families surviving domestic violence, and asked them what I could do for them as a developer.
I brainstormed with my mentor and friend who lends his skills to TelMate, an organisation that is committed to ending recidivism in our (in)justice system and wanted to know where I could help.
Here’s the thing- As developers, we are an amazing resource for humanitarian organisations in 2019. As humans, we should do better. I’m not trying to judge anyone, what I am attempting to bring to light is that we don’t need anymore dating apps, we don’t necessarily need anymore social media apps, unless they do something other than mine your data and make you feel bad cos you don’t have Hawaii Honeymoon pics to post. What we do need is to come together as a community and try and make the world a better place.
I hope this post gives us that push in an humanitarian effort to be better developers. It’s not all about what you know, it’s about who you are as a person.
The below links, though hard to watch, are one of the many reasons why this blog post was so important to me: