#MakingWaves: Staff Profile on René Pérez

12/06/2018 - 6:16pm

"Before working at New Economy Coalition, I didn't know you could earn a living while dedicating your life to movement work."

René joined NEC five years ago, after meeting Communications Director Eli Feghali through Occupy Boston. The two worked closely together as founding members of Dewey Square's Logistics and Tech Working Groups. Eli suggested he apply for a job at NEC. "I'm glad I did, I was working minimum wage on food stamps before this. I didn't go to college and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do to sustain myself while organizing."

 

"Technology can often replicate or reinforce capitalist structures. I see another way - a way to build equity and liberation into our digital infrastructure as we develop and use it for social change."

As the IT Manager at NEC, René keeps the organization's digital security tight and makes technology accessible to staff. Through his work at NEC, he has grown his skills as a facilitator, trainer, and organizer: "NEC has helped me grow the way I do digital security trainings for organizers. I didn't know about popular education before I came to NEC; all my trainings were just lecture style and I was dissatisfied with how hard it was to connect with workshop participants. Since working here I've been able to connect with people who do popular education and apply it to digital security workshop curricula."

"We're up against capitalism's strongest tech corporations who wield massive amounts of political and financial power. We've got to organize. It starts with us."

In his role at NEC, René works to bridge connections between members who want to rethink how they use technology in their work. René works closely with NEC members like Mayfirst and Palante Tech Coop, both of whom were participants in the More Than Code report - essential reading for anyone using technology in support of social justice movements. This network weaving matters because it will take a lot of resources to make change in tech. We're up against capitalism's strongest corporations who wield massive amounts of political and financial power. We've got to organize. It starts with us.

"I think there's a lot of room to grow in the new economy space, in terms of how we think about and use technology for change. And from the other direction, there are new economy values and analysis that need to be applied to the tech sector itself. We know that technology can be used for capitalist gains, with little regard to its impact on frontline communities. Technology - both its production and implementation - can often replicate or reinforce capitalist structures. I see another way - a way to build equity and liberation into our digital infrastructure as we develop and use it."

When we talk about the new economy, we need to talk about technology and its role in our movement. When you make a gift to NEC, you support our work to build equitable digital infrastructure for our movement. Support NEC today.

This blog post was written by Shavaun Evans, Interim Co-Director, as part of NEC's #MakingWaves staff series. Check out the rest of the series on our blog!

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