Meet the 2017 Fellows: Rasa, Ptah and Norman
Ptah Asabi – I live in San Leandro, CA. I am in my second semester at chabot college, studying Electrical Engineering. I am a part of SBBC (Striving Black Brothers Coalition), Gameheads/Devops, and the Daraja/ Umoja Community.
Rasa Ostad – I live in Oakland, CA, I work at a bike shop, and I am part of Gameheads and DevOps at United Roots.
Norman Weekes – I live in Hayward,CA. I am a part of Gameheads/DevOps at United Roots.
People of color who own tech businesses are both politically necessary and economically viable to create the infrastructure of community and resistance. POC and Black owned businesses give POC control of profit-making institutions and our own labor. The DevOps team would do business in ways that affirms the humanity of our selves, the people we work with, and the rich history and resilience of neighborhoods in Oakland. The DevOps team at Gameheads have talked about a business that looks a lot like a social enterprise. While it is a for-profit business, the claim is that the community and POC will benefit from this business both materially and symbolically (its symbolically significant in my mind for a youth-of-color owned tech company to come out of this dense moment that is brewing locally in the East Bay, in the Bay Area at large, and nationally).
I would say this project embodies all of the key features of a social enterprise, specifically a community enterprise. This kind of business, a business run and owned by people of color, promoting the presence and well being of people of color in the tech industry and combating people of color being shut out of the tech industry and displaced from the bay area in the face of immense investment and flows of money from outside investors who participate in the desecration of Oakland. DevOps, in contrast, would contribute to the well being of Oakland and if our business were to be profitable it would not be a cost to the people but rather an asset to local community. I believe both that people of color deserve to be able to work in the tech industry (i.e. not be shut out by racism within the industry or unable to access the industry in the first place) in businesses that reflect themselves and not white corporate culture.
I would say one clear measure of success for me is if the business is robust and profitable enough to support myself and my team members livelihoods while also creating desirable conditions for labor. Employing more people would be even more awesome. If there are ways for the business to make profit while also contributing to the success of other Oakland based, POC run projects I would really like to make that happen and integrate that into the way we start this project.
Currently, most of our investment is directly from United Roots, from Gameheads, and from TekPerfect.. It is because of how much investment has been made into us that I personally feel it is paramount for the DevOps team to make a full-fledged attempt at making this a way to support ourselves. If nothing else, we owe it to the network that has made everything we’ve done so far possible to to try working together towards a larger goal.
People can participate in our project and support us by talking about our services with the people around you, hiring us or asking us for a consultation, connecting with us on LinkedIn, and joining us at our seasonal game jams with Gameheads. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions! 🙂