Tech Summit 2019 was a blast from the past. With the 1980’s as the guiding theme, this year’s conference centered the week on building on the past to enhance the future. We used the art of storytelling to remind programs about how powerful survivor stories are, while honoring their right to choose, when, how, and with whom they share their stories.
While a lot has changed with how we engage with technology much still remains the same. This year, as a theme, we decided to go retro and brought in elements from the ‘80’s to incorporate a fun vibe to the conference while maintaining the core tenets of tech safety. Below are some highlights from the 2019 Technology Summit:
1. “My Story, My Choice”: Storytelling was a resonating theme throughout the course of the conference. Survivor Ferial Nijiem, shared her impactful and prevailing story of the abuse she experienced that included the misuse of smart home technology . Ferial’s call to action to advocates, law enforcement, and other criminal justice professionals was simply put: “Believe survivors, even when their story sounds hard to believe!” If we start by believing, we can ensure that survivors are heard and that they receive the resources and support they deserve, especially when technology is involved.
2.“Jane Stop This Crazy Thing”: This year marked the 7th Technology Summit, all following 10 years of annual Training of Trainers conferences. The team endeavored to provide foundational information rooted in the history of advocacy, while updating materials to reflect the changing of times and technology. The Safety Net Team worked hard to revise our fundamental and foundational content in order to present it in a thoughtful way for new and returning attendees. We provided new and interesting resources, while challenging attendees to remember that technology will never replace good old-fashioned advocacy.
3. “Time After Time”: Each year we bring in expert presenters from throughout the country to share their knowledge on tech-facilitated abuse. Law enforcement, court officials, and advocates learned about new models, skills, and techniques that they could implement to support survivors in their home state, territory, or tribal community. From deepfakes to the gig economy, HUD comparable databases to developing a community-based tech clinic, and so much more, our presenters provided relevant and useful information on working with survivors who are experiencing tech misuse.
Time after time, the presenters who participate in our tech summit, show their passion and dedication to this work, and we could not provide this conference without their expertise.
4. “Flashdance: What a Feeling!”: Day one of the conference opened strong with our welcome reception. Attendees had the opportunity to network, visit opt-out stations to remove their data from websites, take a Polaroid picture, and play 80’s themed arcade games while listening to throwback jams.
Our closed-door Women of Color Reception provided space for allied professionals to discuss how digital storytelling has and can be integral to our healing journey. Participants discussed how traditional forms of storytelling has now transformed to digital platforms and methods. Finding your voice and sharing your story are substantial forms of healing and while doing so, it is important to practice self-care.
Furthermore, feelings of excitement and anticipation were in the air as we announced that Tech Summit 2020 will be held in Washington, DC! Bringing this conference home next year will allow more professionals on the east coast to gain access to this important information and allow mid-west and west coast attendees to visit the Nation’s Capital. Stay tuned for call for proposals, updates and more!
Tech Summit is one of the biggest undertakings of the Safety Net Team and it would not be as large and successful without the attendees, presenters, funders, and staff who make it all possible. Thank you all.
Until 2020, Cowabunga Dude!
The Safety Net Team