SAN MATEO, CA, March 14, 2022 – In response to the Florida Senate passing the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill (HB 1557), which will now head to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk for his signature or veto, Brenda Darden Wilkerson, President & CEO of AnitaB.org had this to say:
“We at AnitaB.org – an organization that helps women and nonbinary people succeed in technology – vehemently oppose Florida’s proposed ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill. The possibility of this bill becoming law is infuriating and antithetical to our core beliefs and that of the global community that we have cultivated for twenty-five years and counting.
“We challenge all those who stand for equality, equity, truth, and justice to join us in denouncing this act of aggression: tech companies, institutions of higher learning, corporations, and everyday people, join us and tell Governor DeSantis that there’s no room in our changing world for discrimination and hate and that he must veto this bill.
“The table in tech needs to be more diverse, and that diversity starts with a full, accurate and well-rounded education. Cutting off important conversations, for reasons that have no merit, deprives our young people of diversity in thought, approach, character and opportunity.
“AnitaB.org is scheduled to host our annual Grace Hopper Celebration in Orlando, Florida, in September 2022. Thousands from all over the world plan to attend this annual event–the world’s largest gathering of women and non-binary technologists. That is why we are so very committed to creating a safe space where ALL will be welcomed and which aligns with our values. While we have experienced a very positive working relationship with the people of Orlando, should this bill become law, we will have no choice but to reconsider Florida as our host state for our 2023 events and beyond. We believe in supporting the economy of a state that is deserving of this gathering, our time, talent, treasures, and dollars. Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay, Don’t Say Trans’ bill falls well below that standard.”