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ACLU on Immigration Ban- “It’s Definitely David and Goliath

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I'm outside the ACLU in New York City, the American Civil Liberties Union. Over the course of a single weekend, they raised over $24 million in donations following Trump's so-called immigration ban. That's six times what they make annually, in a single weekend. And most of that support came largely from online in Silicon Valley. We're about to talk to Mark Wier, the Chief Development Officer who can explain what they're going to do with all that new-found cash, and how Silicon Valley figures into all of that. Is this a David and Goliath situation? Can the ACLU as an organization— is it large enough—it certainly has the funds now. Can it organize and tackle what seems to be an uphill battle? It's definitely David and Goliath, and I would say even though we've gotten a huge influx of funds, it is still a relatively small number compared to the forces that we're facing. We have roughly 300 lawyers nationwide, and we're going to be hiring more now with these new funds. The government has more than 19,000 lawyers, and we don't want to assume that every part of the government is going to be working contrary to civil liberties. We don't think we'll be about to count on the Department of Justice to even enforce many existing laws on the books. So we are going to also be put in the position of challenging the government to enforce existing laws. Arguably, some of the loudest cries rallying behind the ACLU have come from Silicon Valley. So many of our supporters are in California, interestingly. I think there is a history of progressive politics there. The supporter base has really rallied. A great percentage of those members are really all across the country, but California has I think the highest percentage of any state. So it's times like this when individual support is incredibly important. I just met with Mark Wier, the Chief Development Officer at the ACLU, and what I can gather is, it's kind of an uphill climb from here, in spite of all the new hirings and the donations, it's something of a David and Goliath story. So now I'm off to meet with Josh Reeves, CEO of an HR platform called Gusto. He's a major player in Silicon Valley. He's also been a very vocal advocate of ACLU, he's made it possible for his users to donate directly to the ACLU on his software. Why do you think some of the loudest cries in support of, say the ACLU, has come from Silicon Valley? Why do you think that? Definitely one of the underlying principles is this idea that through your hard work, through your effort, you can accomplish almost anything you put your mind to. This ban, this change actually makes it seem like it actually is just black and white. It's almost antithetical to the entire philosophy of you can do anything you put your mind to. My mom came to America when she was 18 from Bolivia. She really didn't speak any English, she got into the University of San Francisco, put herself through school, learned a new language, really created a new life for herself. When I think about entrepreneurship, we talk a lot about tech startups when we say entrepreneurship. To me, it's more of a mindset. It's a mindset on not wanting to accept the way things are as the way they should be, it's thinking about how they could be and acting upon it. People that are technologists, engineer product people just want to go build something people use. These products that were used by 100 people, 1000 people, are now used by a quarter of the world. So there is almost I think this need to look at the first order of impact which is how many users do I have, how much engagement do I get, how many page views do I get, but then there is also a second order impact, which is how does what I build, how does what I create impact society? I think Silicon Valley, if it truly embraces both of those, can be an incredible steward and take that responsibility and have a good impact with it. But it's important to get past that first order. [On Sunday, almost 100 tech firms file a legal brief against the travel ban] [...citing it "inflicts significant harm on American business."]

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Duration: 4 minutes and 21 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: arianasantana on Feb 6, 2017

ACLU on Immigration Ban- “It’s Definitely David and Goliath"

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