Leah LaSalla

@OpenSorceress

This Is What Marginalized Looks Like.

This is not fair.

I have a very special favor to ask.

tl;dr: Right now, Jacqueline Homan is having a medical emergency. She needs major surgery for a torsioned intestine.

That’s bad enough, but we have a plan and a fundraiser to save her life (if you can help, please do.)

So here’s how it happened:

A friend of mine (and one of my most advanced students), Jacqueline Homan, has a book deal with Packt for an F# book. Jacqueline has had a very, very rough life. If you don’t know me, know this: I taught myself to program in the days before bootcamps and women’s initiatives. Several years of being the only woman led to a compulsion to teach other women to dev, especially disadvantaged / marginalized women like me for many years, now.

This is me, her mentor, trying to save her book deal. She’s worked hard to master an uncommon, increasingly relevant language and has emerged as one of its’ thought leaders. She deserves to finish this book, and all I have to work with is social capital, a belief in other devs, and a nigh-inexplicable hope that the tech world in general has evolved enough to agree that it is not unreasonable to give her a break.

You see, as it happens, some of the women I mentor are far more marginalized than most people in the world of tech even realize is possible.

The difference between a “sex worker” and a victim of prostitution is that for the latter, coercion plays a role - direct or not, economic or otherwise, they are unhappy with it. And Jacqueline Homan is one of the latter - a trafficking survivor. Long story which if you want, you can read for yourself (she'd written 5 books about it by the time I met her.) And just for the record, Jacqueline is not unique — not for my students, not for *her* students, not in the world in general.

Anyway.

I started mentoring her closely in programming and job skills in general several years ago after hearing she'd gone through RailsGirls. In almost 4 years, even with my sponsorship and having learned enough programming languages to pick up projects from me, we have struggled with getting her hired by anyone, anywhere, for anything. It’s fair to acknowledge that age discrimination (she’s over 40) on top of sexism are a tough combo to beat.

In spite of all that, she had just managed to land a job as a developer — and then she got sick. She was brought on as a contractor, as women often are: no benefits (which means no COBRA) and they unceremoniously dumped her as she sat in the emergency room. They ended up paying her for less than 8 hours of her time.

It was a devastating blow, to say the least.

So she put her book-writing ability and programming ability together, and landed a deal from Packt to write a book about F#. She’s four chapters into that book, and if I could just talk to someone at Packt — I’d let them know they need to give her time, because she's having a medical emergency, and to not take this away from her.

For one thing, good luck finding another expert in F# and for another, that's just cold.

So this is my call to action, tech world: I'm trying to cash in social capital to help her, because this is just not fair.

If you can help, please consider it. If not, consider liking this post; maybe it will help, somehow.

Thanks, Packt. I look forward to her book when it comes out.

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