This past weekend in San Jose, Mijente, Tech Workers Coalition and MediaJustice hosted #TakeBackTech, a convening where organizers from communities directly impacted by criminalization and surveillance joined policy and legal advocates, tech industry workers, and more to do three key things (among others): 

  • Share information and build collective analysis about the role of tech in reshaping our democracy, with a particular emphasis on the criminal legal system and immigration enforcement
  • Learn strategies from active campaigns and initiatives that are targeting tech tools and corporations
  • Identify areas for organizing and movement building that can lead to renewed efforts to protect local communities and target a broader set of tech companies. 

The two-day summit kicked off with a plenary discussion featuring Marisa Franco of Mijente, Brooke Larson and Tech Workers Coalition and MediaJustice’s own Steven Renderos discussing how technology’s presence in our day-to-day requires us to shift our organizing strategies to beat Big Tech. 

From electronic monitoring to pre-trial decision-making to tech’s role in propping up the military-industrial complex, our MediaJusticeNetwork members, including About Face, Media Mobilizing Project, and Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, and MediaJustice fellow, James Kilgore, led a series of workshops breaking down how all encompassing tech’s role is in surveillance, incarceration, immigration and other forms of state-sanctioned violence.

Day 1’s closing fireside chat, moderated by MediaJustice Network member BYP100,  featured MediaJustice’s founder, Malkia Cyril, sharing their insights on the future of criminalization.

After an inspiring closing by our own Malkia Cyril, #TakeBackTech attendees returned for Day 2 with an eye toward how we’re going to co-create strategies to envision and build a better world. The opening fireside chat brought Meredith Whittaker of AI Now and #MediaJusticeNetwork member Media Mobilizing Project to the stage. Then, the next series of breakout sessions featured MediaJustice Network members Southerners on New Ground (SONG) discussing the role of needs assessment in the fight to end pretrial detention while Stop LAPD Spying Coalition took attendees through how to unpack the algorithmic ecology.

It’s going to take broad movement organizing to end carceral tech and the industry at-large’s efforts to surveil, criminalize, detain and incarcerate our Black and brown communities. However, Team #MediaJustice left San Jose feeling more inspired and energized in the fight against Big Tech so we know we will win! And huge shoutout to our event co-hosts Mijente and Tech Workers Coalition!


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