Changes between Version 26 and Version 27 of techies_of_color


Ignore:
Timestamp:
Mar 5, 2011, 6:37:42 PM (11 years ago)
Author:
alfredo
Comment:

--

Legend:

Unmodified
Added
Removed
Modified
  • techies_of_color

    v26 v27  
    1 = Program Summary: =
    21
    3 This program provides an intense, supportive mentored training program for activists of color to become professional-level, politically progressive and movement involved technologists. At the end of a 15 month program, the trainee will be able to perform all server administration functions as well as basic code writing and other skills needed to plan, maintain and upgrade any organization or movement's technology.
     2= Program Summary: =
    43
    5 No other program of this type exists in this country.
     4This program provides an intense, supportive mentored training program for activists of color to become professional-level, politically progressive and movement involved technologists. At the end of a 12 month program, the trainee will be able to perform all server administration functions as well as basic code writing and other skills needed to plan, maintain and upgrade any organization or movement's technology as well as advise organizations on the selection and use of technology and software available.
     5No other program of this type exists in this country.
    66
    7 == The Importance of the Internet ==
    87
    9 The converging crises in the major capitalist economies, the precarious state of the world environment, the political crisis in government in so many of the world's countries and the usurpation of government authority by international banks and committees have brought humanity to a point of urgency and increasing certainty that something must be done to save itself.
     8== The Importance of the Internet ==
     9The converging crises in the major capitalist economies, the precarious state of the world environment, the political crisis in government in so many of the world's countries and the usurpation of government authority by international banks and committees have brought humanity to a point of urgency and increasing certainty that something must be done to save itself.
     10When all else fails, human beings come together to communicate and figure out how to survive; that is our legacy as a species. And humanity has been forging ahead in doing that with world-wide efforts like the World Social Forum and the Climate Control movement and, of course, the Internet.
     11The Internet, a community of more than 1.9 billion people world-wide, is among humanity's principle responses; it's humanity's way of facilitating the communication necessary to make all this collaboration possible.
     12At the same time, the global crisis against which we're mobilizing depletes the resources required to build gatherings of large numbers of people. They are too large to put on, too expensive to get to and not capable of broadening the number of poor people attending. If we are going to ensure the progressive movements' continued collaboration world-wide and the broadening of those movements, we are going to have to use the Internet and that is the reason why humanity invented it.
     13== The Importance of the "techie" ==
     14In that context, the role of technologists becomes critically and centrally important. Techies are the leaders of the Internet because they run its technology and lead the work on its software. In that context, progressive techies (technologists who are part of or sympathetic to the Social Justice movement) have a very special role to play:
     15 * most progressive techies' political perspective prioritizes the use of the Internet and development of its software for organizing (rather than exclusively commerce or individual, personal communications although both these functions are important and beneficial);
     16 * their commitment to Free and Open Source Software makes them central to a struggle that is fundamental to the Internet's future;
     17 * the fierce opposition this "community" has long had to controlling and interventionist government policies that favor corporations and repressive and intrusive policies that inhibit or control people's use of the Internet helps maintain the Internet's essential independence and freedom;
     18 * and their politics give the progressive movement a critically important leadership position within the Internet.
    1019
    11 When all else fails, human beings come together to communicate and figure out how to survive; that is our legacy as a species. And humanity has been forging ahead in doing that with world-wide efforts like the World Social Forum and the Climate Control movement and, of course, the Internet.
     20== The Problem ==
     21There is one serious flaw in this promising picture, particularly in the United States:
     22Techies, the Internet's leaders, are mainly white men. This means that, while people of color can do a lot on the Internet, the management of the machines that serve the Internet; the creation and development of the software that runs it; and the power and ability to control and maintain the technology are usually not in the hands of people of color.
     23For the most part, progressive techies are very conscious of this and consistently lament the situation. But, up to now, not very much has been done about it.
     24The situation threatens the movement's successful use of technology in its organizing work and deepens the “digital divide” that has long plagued movement Internet use. Without people of color involved in the maintenance, planning and direction of the Internet it is impossible to provide communities of color the fullest access to this powerful tool and the huge International community that uses it.
     25== Who Does What and Why is That Important? ==
     26To characterize and understand the dimensions of the problem, we need to understand the varying levels of engagement activists have with the Internet.
     27Most of us use the Internet and its related technologies in our work. We rely on it to function and to do what we want it to and what it says it will do. We have integrated the Internet into our political work and, to some extent, we design our political work around the Internet's capabilities -- even unconsciously -- day after day.
     28We write distributed materials and design their distribution based on our email lists. We have come to frame our ideas based on what they will look like on a website. We increasingly get our information from the Web rather than newspapers or other media. As individual activists, we have come to rely on email as our primary form of communication. Our activism is increasingly Internet-based.
     29And we rely on a few of us to administer and develop these resources and guide the rest of our movement in their use. To define those people a bit better:
     30# Office Tech Staffers actually install and maintain websites and email programs and their work is critical to the functioning of any organization on-line. Many larger organizations have one of at least one person with these skills on staff; those who can't afford such a professional full-time have access to one or more for hourly work.
     31# System Administrators perform several vital functions:
     32   * -- keep the servers and systems that run the web, email and other services functional;
     33   * -- install and upgrade the system software that actually runs servers
     34   * -- build servers and networks when necessary
     35-- are there when something major breaks down; when the staff who run websites can't figure out a problem they're having; when a new server, networked computer or router must be installed, fixed or upgraded.
     36In short, these are the people who run the system.
     37What is interesting is that many people look at the Internet and, like most of us who drive cars, see only the "vehicle" that moves and gets us places. They see the websites and they work with the email and they interact with lists. And when something goes wrong, they talk to their Office Tech Staffer who then either "fixes" it or, when a more specific skill set is required, makes a phone call to some other person most of us never see or meet.
     38# Software Developers
     39develop software and, using many of the same skills mentioned above, they write and improve the software that is often used for organizing tasks on the Internet. In addition, they lead discussions of the user communities that guide and drive improvements to that software. Over the next two or three years, we expect this large community to:
     40Develop “alternative” Social Networking software that is free of corporate control and safe and secure
     41Redefine rapid on-line communication to supplement email and to widen the kinds of material that can be emailed and make that process much faster
     42Massify the connection between the Internet and hand-held devices like cell phone
     43Popularize, improve and simplify database information systems that can include many more capabilities than that currently available
     44Massify the alternative audio and video distribution systems (including radio and tv) to make them completely accessible to communities through the country
     45Build alternative, shared information storage and distribution systems based on home or office plug-in servers that will revolutionize information sharing, security and storage.
     46The developments are imminent. They are being worked on currently. As they progress, they will fundamentally change the Internet, the way we use it and the number of people who will use it.
     47Those who develop these software projects will be effectively leading the design of human communications in this country and world-wide for the next decade.
    1248
    13 The Internet, a community of more than 1.9 billion people world-wide, is among humanity's principle responses; humanity's way of facilitating the communication necessary to make all this collaboration possible.
     49All of these roles are played by a "techie".
     50Techies run systems, develop software, make major decisions about how we are going to use the Internet and what tools we will need. Unquestionably the final decision on Internet issues is still in the hands of very large and powerful corporations but the day to day, month to month decisions about what happens on the Internet are in the hands of techies. They run the Internet in a very practical sense. They can close it to people or open it up to the world. They determine how it will be used and how it will develop. They are the Internet's day to day leadership.
     51== Empowering Ourselves Through the Techie ==
     52The importance of the Techie of Color is underscored by a summary of the distinctions present in organizing communities of color.
    1453
    15 At the same time, the global crisis against which we're mobilizing depletes the resources required to build gatherings of large numbers of people. They are too large to put on, too expensive to get to and not capable of broadening the number of poor people attending. If we are going to ensure the progressive movements' continued collaboration world-wide and the broadening of those movements, we are going to have to use the Internet and that is one reason why humanity invented it.
     54This area of organizing:
     55* is aimed at a population with particular, culturally and historically driven approaches to information, how to get it and how to share it
     56* demands that organizers respect, work with and incorporate the myriad organizations who have been doing work in these communities for decades
     57* must respect and encompass the cultures, work styles and communication  styles prevalent in these communities.
     58* must confront unique and often excruciating forms of oppression and isolation that other communities might not be completely familiar with.
     59And so, if technology is to be effectively used in these communities, people from these communities must participate in its development and implementation.
     60The absence of people of color in these ranks is both disempowering and, ultimately, destructive to the entire Social Justice movement.
     611 -- This lack of representation is actually a lack of empowerment. The important contributions people of color make in combating racism, raising issues that are hidden by color, diversifying the "recipient" population and so much else simply doesn't "get" to the Internet's techies and users as it could and should. Too often, the movement's functioning on the Internet represents the recolonization of people of color.
     622 -- Software development is never geared to people of color. Since techies do the software development, that software frequently falls short of incorporating the true needs, culture, generalized perceptions and stages of development that exist within communities of color. This is true at the planning stages up to the testing stages in which people of color are seldom involved.
     63The amount of money, time and energy wasted or misdirected by this situation is inestimable. It's impossible to estimate the investment made by organizations of color into proprietary software running servers, the money poured into the wide array of Windows software, and the dependence on proprietary software like Google's array of aps and social networking software like Facebook.
     64We have recently seen Google's strategic orientation in the deal it has made with Verizon to develop "access tiers" on the Internet which would virtually destroy the Internet as originally conceived. And the social networking tools, which stress one to one communication comprised of a few words, are actually contradictory with real organizing and movement building.
     65In truth, the progressive techie community has made many efforts to develop free and politically productive alternatives to these software packages but those efforts have not yielded usable programs in part because the progressive movement doesn't see the need and doesn't give this effort much support. This problem is particularly difficult for people of color; while people from all communities use Google aps and Facebook, young people from communities of color depend on it.
     66And this trend continues with specific need situations.
     67For example, a simple attempt to acquire census data on specific areas of the country on-line -- a
     68need many organizations now have -- can cost a small fortune: often in the tens of thousands of dollars. That is a server-based software solution that could be developed by technologists and be offered to organizations for free if the interest were there.
     693 -- Far too little effort is made among techies in this country to combat technology barriers that keep people of color off-line, a situation that would definitely improve if there were more techies of color. 
     70While it is true that many young people of color now use the Internet in this country, that use has not crossed generational lines as it has with the majority communities. And that community of "young users" is constrained to very limited use patterns: mainly the kind of social networking software that,
     71as we said above, allows for one to one communications but makes organizing very difficult.
     72There is very little software development that would facilitate organization among people of color and that's because people of color are not doing software development.
     734 -- The Internet is, of course, a world phenomenon and one of its greatest contributions is uniting the world through its communication. The necessary and politically powerful collaborations among techies from various countries and parts of the world are crippled by the lack of background diversity among US- based techies. It's difficult to truly develop a collaboration when the US techies are all white and not reflective of the entire US culture.
     74Our program is designed to attack this problem head-on: by increasing the number of top-tier, front-lines techies.
    1675
    17 == The Importance of the "techie" ==
     76== The Skills We Seek to Distribute ==
     77We want to train activists of color and make them techies by providing them the following skills as outlined in this graphic.
     78As the above graphic shows, the program would provide full training in three areas:
    1879
    19 In that context, the role of technologists becomes critically and centrally important. Techies are the leaders of the Internet because they run its technology and lead the work on its software.
     80Server Administration:
     81Server Operating System Maintenance
     82Web Server Installation, Updating and Maintenance
     83Email Program Maintenance Along with Anti-Spam and Security Software
    2084
    21 In that context, progressive techies have a very special role to play:
     85Software Development and Use:
     86Configure and maintain basic software packages include Content Management Systems like Drupal and WorkPress, Database Systems, and Network Communications systems
     87Manage and configure Mail List and Email services
     88Write and code basic programs to respond to essential organizational needs
    2289
    23  * our political perspective prioritizes the use of the Internet and development of its software for organizing (rather than exclusively commerce or individual, personal communications);
     90Capacity Development:
     91Help Define Technology and Software needs
     92Write Tech Use plans for organizations
     93Assist in getting Technology to influence organizing
    2494
    25  * our commitment to Free and Open Source Software makes us central to a struggle that is fundamental to the Internet's future;
     95But each of these areas also fertilizes others. For example, server administration skills greatly enhance capacity building because the admin has the most global understanding of what is possible, what is extensible and what is needed for each task. Software Development and Use clearly feeds Capacity by creating the tools that are need to building an organization's capabilities.
     96What is important to understand is that, for the most part, people of color are only involved in the Capacity Development area and, because they are not involved heavily in the other two areas, they  either operate at less efficiency or, in many cases, not at all.
     97== What Do We Do? ==
     98This program's primary goal is to train a group of people of color to become proficient techies with skills in server administration, web and email administration and trouble-shooting and basic software development including the ability to construct basic scripts in Drupal and similar content management systems.
     99After a one year program of intense on the job training with constant support from a fully qualified "mentor", the trainee will be proficient enough to actually run Linux servers, perform installations, diagnostics and upgrades, maintain the server system and  provide all the capabilities and services described above.
     100The trainee will also have benefited from a full year of intense discussion and reflection on the political significance of his/her work, the issues a progressive techie confronts and the problem of relating to other activists and how to deal with those problems.
     101The goal is to recruit 10 to 12 techie trainees and 5 or 6 techie mentors. Each
     102 mentor will be assigned two techie trainees.
    26103
    27  * the fierce opposition we have long had to controlling and interventionist government policies that favor corporations and repressive and intrusive policies that inhibit or control people's use of the Internet helps assure the Internet's essential independence and freedom;
     104The trainees are people of color activists currently working for a grass
     105 roots organization in some tech capacity. The mentors are fully-trained,
     106 practicing server administrators/technologists.
     107That mentor will be the techie's support person and trainer, guiding
     108 the techie through the training program while providing the trainee full
     109 technical support and assistance.
    28110
    29  * and our politics give the progressive movement a critically important leadership position within the Internet.
     111While the overall focus of the training is pre-determined, the mentors and trainees will together determine the curriculum
     112 and focus in an initial convergence meeting and series of phone and email consultations.
    30113
    31 == The Problem ==
     114= Schedule =
    32115
    33 There is one serious flaw in this promising picture, particularly in the United States: techies, the Internet's leaders, are mainly white men. This means that, while people of color can do a lot on the Internet, the management of the machines that serve the Internet; the creation and development of the software that runs it; and the power and ability to control and maintain the technology is in the hands of white people.
     116The program begins with an in-person prep training that will cover:
    34117
    35 This general problem is inherited by the progressive movement and, while progressive techies frequently lament the situation, not very much is being done about it.
     118 * a workshop on racism designed to make the mentor more sensitive to
     119 and conscious of racism as an obstacle in political and technology
     120 work.
    36121
    37 The problems emerging threaten the movement's successful use of technology and the marrying of technology with the movement's organizing work: the movement's two political priorities for the Internet.
     122 * a linux install fest in which trainees will receive netbooks on which
     123 they will install linux. The netbooks will serve as their primary
     124 console for conducting the work of the year. We hope to have several
     125(if not all) of the mentors there.
    38126
    39 == Who Does What and Why is That Important? ==
     127 * assigning mentors to trainees
    40128
    41 To characterize and understand the dimensions of the problem, we need to understand the varying levels of engagement activists have with the Internet.
     129 * developing both group and individual curriculum and benchmarks
     130 * establishing both group and individual methods of communication
    42131
    43  * Most of us use it in our work. We rely on it to function and to do what we want it to and what it says it will do. This is a good thing; it's what the Internet's technology is for. We have integrated the Internet into our political work and, to some extent, we design our political work around the Internet's capabilities -- even unconsciously -- day after day.
     132The initial prep training is designed to begin easing people into what
     133 will be a very new environment for both mentor and trainee.
    44134
    45 For us to be able to do this, we rely on a smaller number of us who administer these resources.
     135The mentor will have the new experience of confronting racism in a
     136 highly supportive environment which treats the racism, not as a kind of
     137 white person's "original sin" but as a social problem affecting all
     138 people that must be challenged in ways that are specific and relevant to
     139 groups of people.
    46140
    47  * Office Tech Staffers actually install and maintain websites and email programs and their work is critical to the functioning of any organization on-line. Many larger organizations have one of at least one person with these skills on staff; those who can't afford such a professional full-time have access to one or more for hourly work. And finally...
     141The trainee will confront a new experience akin to building a car motor.
     142 For the first time, this person will actually install, configure and
     143 come to understand the operating system that dictates much of his or her
     144 communications.
    48145
    49  * System Administrators. These are people who
     146As the year goes on, the trainee works toward specific benchmarks:
     147 defined by specific developmental tasks as well as interactions with the
     148 staff or constituency of the organization sponsoring the server.
    50149
    51    * -- keep the servers and systems that run the web, email and other services functional;
     150Three additional times over the course of the year, all trainees meet in
     151 a convergence with the mentors to discuss the ongoing training program.
     152 These gatherings are designed to take up global issues (like race
     153 patterns within technology and its flowing relationships), new
     154 technologies, major technology developments people should know about and
     155 over-all program issues. They are mandatory and a critical part of the
     156 program.
    52157
    53    * -- install and upgrade the system software that actually runs servers
     158Upon completion of the training, the trainee is a techie. They will be
     159 incorporated into all MF/PL techie groups and lists, supported by MF/PL
     160 with any possible work available and, through the MF/PL network, will
     161 make relationships with all kinds of technologists from which the
     162 individual techie and his/her organization will benefit.
     163== Program Specifics: ==
     1641 -- A call is issued to many organizations of color seeking applicants. 
     1652 -- Applicants are selected by a team from the sponsoring organizations. 
     1663 -- Interviews are conducted with each selected applicant and then applicants are assigned their curriculum based on their skills and needs and assigned a mentor.
     167The work curriculum would usually include:
     168a -- building a server, prepping it and maintaining it either for the techie's organization, some organization identified by the techie's organization or May First/People Link. The techie would then maintain the server.
     169b -- developing website capabilities, email systems and mail list systems on that server and maintaining them
     170c -- developing a technical support system for that organization
     171These areas of proficiency will make this person a qualified server administrator.
    54172
    55    * -- build servers and networks when necessary
    56173
    57    * -- are there when something major breaks down; when the staff who run websites can't figure out a problem they're having; when a new server, networked computer or router must be installed, fixed or upgraded. In short, these are the people who run the system.
    58174
    59 What is interesting is that many people look at the Internet and, like most of us who drive cars, see only the "vehicle" that moves and gets us places. They see the websites and they work with the email and they interact with lists. And when something goes wrong, they talk to their Office Tech Staffer who then either "fixes" it or, if they can't, makes a phone call to some other person most of us never see or meet.
    60 
    61 That person is the System Administrator: the person who actually manages the Internet. And that role is played by a "techie".
    62 
    63 Techies run systems, develop software, make major decisions about how we are going to use the Internet and what tools we will need. Unquestionably the final decision on Internet issues is still in the hands of very large and powerful corporations, the day to day, month to month decisions about what happens on the Internet are in the hands of techies. They run the Internet in a very practical sense. They can close it to people or open it up to the world. They determine how it will be used and how it will develop. They are the Internet's day to day leadership.
    64 
    65 The absence of people of color in these ranks is both disempowering and, ultimately, destructive to the entire movement.
    66 
    67 == The Politics of Techie Diversity ==
    68 
    69 To understand the impact of this it's important to remember that Internet functionality is fundamental to social change and the most important means of social organizing today. Virtually every demonstration, campaign and movement developing in this country heavily uses Internet technology to communicate.
    70 
    71 The United States Social Forum movement, for example, would simply not be the same (as large, diverse or successful) if it weren't for the Internet on which it heavily relies. Everything at the USSF from registration to outreach to organization of transportation, housing and, of course, the over one thousand events that took place in Detroit was organized over the Internet.
    72 
    73 As chief technologists for the USSF, we administered the servers that hosted its websites and email lists and, in consultation with the other USSF leaders, we made many political decisions that affected server operations.
    74 
    75 Server Administration is very political and the composition of the people who make those political decisions is a critical issue.
    76 
    77 While the progressive movement has made huge gains in "democratizing" its leadership through racial, gender and national diversification, the fact that the progressive movement's interaction with the Internet in this country is managed by white activists represents a significant weakness.
    78 
    79 1 -- This lack of representation is actually a lack of empowerment. The important contributions people of color make in combating racism, raising issues that are hidden by color, diversifying the "recipient" population and so much else simply doesn't "get" to the Internet's techies and users as it could and should. Too often, the movement's functioning on the Internet represents the recolonization of people of color.
    80 
    81 2 -- Software development is never geared to people of color. Since techies do the software development, that software frequently falls short of incorporating the true needs, culture, generalized perceptions and stages of development that exist within communities of color. This is true at the planning stages up to the testing stages in which people of color are seldom involved.
    82 
    83 The amount of money, time and energy wasted or misdirected by this situation is inestimable. It's impossible to estimate the investment made by organizations of color into proprietary software running servers, the money poured into the wide array of Windows software, and the dependence on proprietary software like Google's array of aps and social networking software like Facebook.
    84 
    85 We have recently seen Google's strategic orientation in the deal it is attempting to make with Verizon to develop "access tiers" on the Internet which would virtually destroy the Internet as originally conceived. And the social networking tools, which stress one to one communication comprised of a few words, are actually contradictory with real organizing and movement building.
    86 
    87 In truth, the progressive techie community has made many efforts to develop free and politically productive alternatives to these software packages but those efforts have not yielded usable programs in part because the progressive movement doesn't see the need and doesn't give this effort much support. This problem is particularly difficult for people of color; while people from all communities use Google aps and Facebook, young people from communities of color depend on it.
    88 
    89 And this trend continues with specific need situations. For example, a simple attempt to acquire census data on specific areas of the country on-line -- a need many organizations now have -- can cost a small fortune (often in the tens of thousands of dollars). That is a server-based software solution that could be developed by technologists and be offered to organizations for free if the interest were there.
    90 
    91 3 -- Far too little effort is made among techies in this country to combat technology barriers that keep people of color off-line, a situation that would definitely improve if there were more techies of color.
    92 
    93 While it is true that many young people of color now use the Internet in this country, that use has not crossed generational lines as it has with the majority communities. And that community of "young users" is constrained to very limited use patterns: mainly the kind of social networking software that, as we said above, allows for one to one communications but makes organizing very difficult.
    94 
    95 There is very little software development that would facilitate organization among people of color and that's because people of color are not doing software development.
    96 
    97 4 -- The Internet is, of course, a world phenomenon and one of its greatest contributions is uniting the world through its communication. The necessary and politically powerful collaborations among techies from various countries and parts of the world are crippled by the lack of background diversity among US-based techies. It's difficult to truly develop a collaboration when the US techies are all white and not reflective of the entire US culture.
    98 
    99 == What Do We Do? ==
    100 
    101 The simple solution is to bring techies of color into the progressive movement's techie activities and that would be eminently possible if there were techies of color. But that is the second part of the problem.
    102 
    103 Internet activists of color are traditionally mired in a disempowering situation when it comes to technology. Most activists who use the Internet are dependent on proprietary "social networking" software and websites built for them that they know how to use but don't know how to fix or expand. The activists whose skills go beyond that are sometimes familiar with "content creation" software like web creation packages (e.g. WordPress) but are usually completely ignorant of the software and processes that actually run a server.
    104 
    105 In that state, organizations of color (and individual activists of color) are universally beholden to white technologists to run their servers and other infrastructure and, while it's not immediately apparent, this puts the communications of all movements of color in the hands of people who are white. In the long term, this is extremely harmful to everyone, to all movements and to the ability of our movements to work with the Internet and with each other using its technology.
    106 
    107 In the short term, it serves to exacerbate the feelings of powerlessness and dependence on the dominant "race" that are a significant part of racist ideology.
    108 
    109 To address this problem, we need to consider the reasons for it
    110 
    111 1 -- People of color are not given the same opportunities and access as white people. Since the technology is in white hands, it serves to reason that it will remain there as techies share tasks with people they know and trust.
    112 
    113 2 -- We don't get training. Because no techie training program exists specifically for people of color and training programs reflect a predictable bias in their development and conceptualization. And they are intimidating since most white trainees start with many advantages.
    114 
    115 3 -- The Internet has, in fact, been slower in introduction into Third World communities and this is systemically linked to the absence of techies of color since the presence of the technology in his or her community is a techie's first encounter with it.
    116 
    117 4 -- The "Techie Culture" that has grown around technologists' functioning and interactions with each other reflects white culture in virtually every way.  Because interactions among techies are so intense the cultural imprint is that much sharper and vivid. Techies of color would find self-introduction in that culture very difficult and intimidating.
    118 
    119 5 -- The focus of political techie work is out of step with the usage patterns and identified needs of activists of color. For instance, the techie movement's stress on free and open source software contradicts the dependency by most activists of color on such social networking tools as Facebook. Such dependencies are, in fact, extremely damaging and dangerous and techies have been able to argue that successfully within much of the mass white movement. But the divide between techies and the movements are color make that argument must more difficult and even viewed with suspicion.
    120 
    121 A note of major importance here: for the most part, progressive techies who are white are not oblivious to this point. In fact, as the recent United States Techie Congress outcomes demonstrate, progressive techies consider the struggle against racism in technology to be an absolute priority. They are allies of this struggle; not the agents.
    122 
    123 == Goals ==
    124 
    125 This program's primary goal is to turn the situation around by training a group of people of color to become proficient techies with skills in server administration, web and email administration and trouble-shooting and basic software development including the ability to construct basic scripts in Drupal and similar content management systems.
    126 
    127 After a one year program of intense on the job training with constant support from a fully qualified "mentor", the trainee will be proficient enough to actually run Linux servers, perform installations, diagnostics and upgrades, maintain the server system and
    128 
    129 The trainee will also have benefited from a full year of intense discussion and reflection on the political significance of his/her work, the issues a progressive techie confronts and the problem of relating to other activists and how to deal with those problems.
    130 
    131 == Program Specifics: ==
    132 
    133 1 -- A call is issued to many organizations of color seeking applicants.
    134 
    135 2 -- Applicants are selected by a team from the sponsoring organizations.
    136 
    137 3 -- Interviews are conducted with each selected applicant and then applicants are assigned their curriculum based on their skills and needs and assigned a mentor.
    138 
    139 Mentors come from the ranks of May First/People Link which includes some of the country's top technologists in its ranks.
    140 
    141 The work curriculum would usually include:
    142 
    143 a -- building a server, prepping it and maintaining it either for the techie's organization, some organization identified by the techie's organization or May First/People Link. The techie would then maintain the server.
    144 
    145 b -- developing website capabilities, email systems and mail list systems on that server and maintaining them
    146 
    147 c -- developing a technical support system for that organization
    148 
    149 These areas of proficiency will make this person a qualified server administrator.
    150 
    151 == Mentor Role ==
    152 
    153 The mentor is the living response to a call being made by many activists, particularly within the Climate Control movement, to "take responsibility and give back". Progressive white techies know they have been privileged over activists of color and, for the most part, want to respond by turning that around.
    154 
    155 The mentor's role is to guide the mentee through the curriculum, provide all technical support and question answering needed, share all skills necessary and provide the opportunity for discussion of the social and political context for this work.
    156 
    157 The course would be mentored by the MF/PL technologist who will meet with the techie at least once a week, answer any phone calls the mentee might make with questions, and conduct email communications on any and all topics related.
    158 
    159 Every two months, mentees will gather in a location (probably two locations in the country) for a two day "seminar" with one of the program leaders about what they are learning, how the course is going, what could be changed, what kinds of political developments are taking place that affect their movements, etc.
    160 
    161 The program will award certificates of proficiency to all who finish it. We believe this process will take 18 months in most cases although it is possible that a trainee could finish the course in a year.
     175== Mentor Role ==
     176The mentor is the living response to a call being made by many activists, particularly within the Climate Control movement, to "take responsibility and give back". Progressive white techies know they have been privileged over activists of color and, for the most part, want to respond by turning that around.
     177The mentor's role is to guide the mentee through the curriculum, provide all technical support and question answering needed, share all skills necessary and provide the opportunity for discussion of the social and political context for this work.
     178The course would be mentored by the MF/PL technologist who will meet with the techie at least once a week, answer any phone calls the mentee might make with questions, and conduct email communications on any and all topics related.
     179Every two months, mentees will gather in a location (probably two locations in the country) for a two day "seminar" with one of the program leaders about what they are learning, how the course is going, what could be changed, what kinds of political developments are taking place that affect their movements, etc.
     180The program will award certificates of proficiency to all who finish it. We believe this process will take 12 months in most cases although it is possible that a trainee could finish the course in a year.