Fighting for OUR right to be heard.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash


On March 26, 2024, we invited Congresswoman Yvette Clarke to discuss the need for urgent legislative action to address AI-generated harms to women and democracy. It would be an understatement to say that this wasn’t a typical event as we were not able to have a dialogue on this important issue.

I greatly appreciate all the messages of support. I am grateful to the Brooklyn Public Library staff for treating the protestors with dignity, Congresswoman Clarke for staying and listening to their concerns, and to our community for their solidarity.

Women in AI Ethics™ (WAIE) is a volunteer-led and volunteer-run community that believes everyone, especially women and non-binary people from marginalized and historically underrepresented communities, MUST be included in important discussions related to Artificial Intelligence (AI). We are neither a tech billionaire’s pet project nor a political lobby group like many other organizations in this critical space. Our initiative has the explicit mission of listening to and uplifting lesser-heard voices.

Since I started this work in 2018, I have put a great deal of thought into the speakers we invite and voices we choose to elevate. Black women are historically marginalized and underrepresented both in the tech industry and in politics. Female politicians face more online and offline gender-based violence than their male colleagues, which leads to many of them dropping out of public office or not running at all. Women of color are also held to a higher ethical bar in all spheres of public and private domains than their white male counterparts.

What was jarring was the co-opting of our safe space for women by a man claiming to represent oppressed women and then shouting down the voices of Asian, Black, Latina, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, as well as other women of color in the audience. The deliberate framing of centuries-old systemic injustices and oppression as a recent occurrence and targeting/threatening a Black woman leader sets a dangerous precedent.

All struggles against oppression and injustice are interconnected. Let us not engage in hurtful debates over whose oppression matters more or which struggles are more important. I echo the Congresswoman’s sentiment — We cannot and should not turn on each other. Our liberation depends on us showing up for ourselves AND for each other.

To everyone whose voices were drowned out yesterday: I see you, I hear you, and I will always fight for OUR right to be included and heard on issues that matter to us.

I urge you to support the Brooklyn Public Library. In a world where resources and power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, public libraries are our last hope for a future that includes and belongs to all of us.

Stay safe and stay engaged.

Mia Shah-Dand

Founder, Women in AI Ethics

Updated on March 29, 2024