Thank you for joining us in the fifth iteration of our Community Perspective series. This week we share the perspective of Sandra Pham.
Hey, there! Who are you and how do you identify?
My name is Sandra Pham (she/her), and I am a co-host on the podcast, Asian in Austin (@asianinatx). The podcast is co-hosted with my friend, Minh Vu, and our goal is to elevate the voices and stories of Asian Americans living in Austin, Texas while exploring what it means to come into one’s own Asian American identity and experience by inviting open dialogue and conversation with community members.
I am also part of the 2021 Notley Fellows, a two-year fellowship for working professionals who want to tackle social impact areas in their community. My area of focus is to build a more equitable world for underrepresented entrepreneurs, specifically minorities and women.
How do you value or use technology in your day to day and with work?
Technology has allowed us to bridge communities in a more meaningful way. For example, by building a podcast platform, we are able to reach more of our brothers and sisters in the Asian American community in Austin and beyond. The rise of anti-Asian hate crimes against our community has been and continues to be an important issue I feel that we must continue to talk about openly. We want to create a safe space for members of our community to share their personal experiences with their Asian American identity and to amplify the work of local AAPI organizations.
Outside of the podcast, I am also a marketing manager for a Saas eCommerce platform. So technology is part of my work every day. At the start of the pandemic, we saw a ton of small businesses struggling to keep their businesses afloat, so there was a huge shift to start selling online. I continue to be in awe of small business owners and their resiliency and ability to shift when obstacles are presented. The world is rapidly and continuously changing and technology is a big contributor to the changing landscape. But it is a double edged sword.
It’s been shared that tech jobs are contributing to gentrification and pushing out Central Texas’ people of color. What changes do you think might help to mitigate these rapid changes within the Austin tech community and through city policy?
While it has been exciting to see the investments and opportunities tech companies are taking in Austin, it is undoubtedly pushing out marginalized communities. Diversity in all shapes and forms is why Austin is the place where so many seek refuge. Austin has historically welcomed people of all walks of life, but with the housing affordability crisis, rising costs, and policies that attack our vulnerable communities, we are going to only attract and retain a certain group or class of residents. We will lose all of those things that we claim are “unique” and great about Austin.
For Austin’s citizens, I would love to see more civic engagement, especially with the younger generations. We have the opportunity to protect and shape the future of Austin. Additionally, I would like to see the tech companies who choose to build here make conscious decisions to reinvest in the communities where they engage.
What future do you imagine for the Austin community as a whole?
I hope that Austin continues to be a welcoming community that celebrates all individuals. Asian in Austin hopes to promote and amplify Asian American voices across the city and will continue to work to preserve and support all diverse communities.
We deeply appreciate your perspective, Sandra!
Be sure to check out Asian in Austin across platforms with the username @AsianinATX and via their linktree.