About the pledge organizers
The Never Again pledge is the joint work of more than 50 tech workers who helped write the pledge text, organized meetups that led to the pledge, verified signatures, created the software infrastructure to support it, managed volunteers, and spread the word about it. Some people who worked on the pledge include:Leigh Honeywell (lead organizer)
Ka-Ping Yee (co-organizer)
Valerie Aurora (co-organizer)
Liz Fong-Jones (advice & technical infrastructure)
The pledge grew out of an in-person meeting of tech workers to build solidarity, one of a series organized by Maciej Cegłowski. One of the ground rules of these meetings is an explicit rejection of "tech solutionism" - the idea that we can solve social problems purely by creating new technical tools. Another is that any solutions we work on should be led by people who are members of the groups the solution is intended to help.
The volunteers behind the pledge include people who are at increased risk from the upcoming U.S. administration: many of us are immigrants, people of color, queer people, trans people, disabled people, and/or women. We know from firsthand experience that empty gestures can prevent people from taking real substantive action. That's why we wrote a specific, action-oriented pledge and hand-verified the signatures, instead of a vague, principle-oriented petition with unverified signatures. A public pledge makes people more likely to follow through on a private decision; we made it simple for thousands of people to take that public pledge.
Our theory of change
Signing the pledge is far from an empty gesture: it's a public commitment to a specific course of action, a request to be held accountable by our peers, an invitation to organize with like-minded folks, an encouragement to others to stand up for their values, and a message of hope to others. Signing the pledge carries a real risk: people who sign it could lose their current job, have trouble getting future jobs, become the target of harassment or violence, or be persecuted by the U.S. government. People who are members of marginalized groups are especially vulnerable to these risks and less likely to be able to sign it. We are grateful to everyone who had the resources, support, and safety to take on this risk and sign the pledge. We ask you not to pressure anyone to sign this pledge - they know best whether they are able to sign the pledge.
This pledge is only a first step towards the goal of organizing tech workers to fight against the use of technology to enable the expansion of large scale human-rights abuses by the U.S. government. We encourage tech workers to continue to organize and act together in solidarity and in conjunction with existing advocacy organizations to demand accountability, commitment, and change from each other and from other organizations, including corporations, news organizations, and the government. Check out our resources for doing so.