Strange Loop

From Protesting to Programming: Becoming a Tech Activist

Civil unrest is growing exponentially around the world as more protests, organized resistance, and uprisings occur in response to increased brutality against oppressed communities. Now more than ever, millions of people across demographics and in communities all over the world are rising together to resist exploitation, racism, and state terrorism. How do technology and the technologist play a role in activism? How is technology both helping and hindering the effectiveness of activism? And more importantly, how do we hold technologists accountable for creating socially aware, community-conscious, and politically committed techies, and not just settle for diversifying the tech sector in appearance?

Technology activist and social entrepreneur Abby Bobé will address these vital questions and tell the story of her personal journey from being the first person in her family to go beyond middle school, overcoming life's obstacles as a poor Afro-Latina, to becoming a leading advocate at the intersection of technology and social justice, educating thousands of men, women, and youth along the way. The North Philly native will share her experience and key learnings about how youth in Ferguson, Missouri, went from protesting police brutality and racism in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown in August 2014 to learning technology skills and bringing the revolution to the cloud. We will also learn how empathy and human-centered design plays a major role in tech activism.

Abby Bobé

Abby Bobé


Idalin "Abby" Bobé is an IT consultant at ThoughtWorks and a tech activist. Her passion is in bridging the digital divide among hard-to-reach populations and creating more technical community-driven leaders. Originally from the North Side of Philadelphia, Abby has impacted thousands of men, women and children globally with her work in tech literacy and empowerment. Her work includes spearheading tech initiatives within organizations like Hands Up United, India Rise, Black Girls CODE, Qeyno Labs Hackathons, and #YesWeCode. Still under 35, Abby is a rising social entrepreneur, whose work has positioned her at the forefront as an innovative leader in technology, activism and community development.