Hundreds of Bay Area tech workers converged on Palo Alto’s King Plaza on Tuesday afternoon in a show of solidarity against the Trump administration’s policies and rhetoric, which the industry believes are a threat to the “values that drive Silicon Valley.”
The rally, organized by software engineer Brad Taylor to coincide with March 14’s mathematically themed Pi Day, was used to urge company leaders to speak out for employees and customers negatively affected by administration policies (the tech industry got its first taste of this in January when President Trump’s immigration travel ban left hundreds of tech workers stranded overseas).
Its other purpose was to connect tech workers and organizations outside the industry that may need their help, and bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and those whose jobs have been disrupted by new technologies.
“We believe that tech has a responsibility,” Taylor wrote in a manifesto about the event. “With its talents and resources, tech has the duty to stand up and be a leader for progress, especially when there is a lack of leadership in Washington.”
The rally featured a lineup of about two dozen speakers, including executives from LinkedIn and Hipmunk, local community activists and janitors and food service staff from Facebook and Cisco.
At least 1,700 people had indicated on the Facebook event page that they would attend. Tech workers came and went over the course of the four-hour rally.
The rally follows a recent surge in political activism in the tech industry, which historically has been hesitant to weigh in on issues not pertaining to its business interests. Tech workers have loudly protested Trump’s executive orders on travel and migrants, pledged to never help build a Muslim or immigrant database and developed apps to facilitate donations to nonprofits.
There have been protests outside the office of secretive technology firm Palantir and the home of its co-founder, Peter Thiel, over concerns the company might assist the government in building databases to be used in the deportation of undocumented immigrants.
Some tech workers have organized hackathons to connect the industry with nonprofits in need.
3:55 p.m.: This article was updated with more recent information.
This article was originally published at 10:40 a.m.