EFF is pleased to announce the addition of Camille Ochoa to the Activism team as Coordinator of Grassroots Advocacy. Camille has already been with EFF on the Operations team for over a year, and has recently worked with the Activism team to call attention to California's flawed gang databases as well as problematic police surveillance. She is now moving to the Activism team full-time to drive forward EFF's Electronic Frontier Alliance.
I asked Camille a few questions to learn more about what led her to EFF and her vision for EFF's outreach efforts.
Why did you decide to work at EFF?
When I came to EFF about a year ago, I didn't necessarily need a job. I was living contentedly in San Diego, impacting and shaping the next generation of activists (i.e. raising my kids). When I was presented the opportunity to apply to such a socially significant organization, though, I had to jump on it. I read about the work they were doing to combat the spread of the surveillance state and hold those in power to account, and I wanted in! My family dropped everything and moved 500 miles north to support me in making this new dream a reality.
I have spent the past year in a part-time position on the Operations team, which afforded me an amazing view of the organization as a living, thriving entity. It is through my exposure to EFF's work in that capacity that I became better equipped to branch out and offer my talents to the Activism team.
What are you most looking forward to working on as Coordinator of Grassroots Advocacy?
I get really excited when I think about the goals we have for the growth of the Electronic Frontier Alliance. It necessitates me proactively reaching out to groups and individuals who may not have already had us on their radar, and that is something I've spent the past year yearning to see more of. I'm glad I get to be involved with something that's so experimental and fluid - to help build something that's so fresh.
What is the Electronic Frontier Alliance?
I'm glad you asked! I think of it as something like a networking hub where student groups, community groups, and hacker spaces from around the country can connect, collaborate, and be inspired. For example, a university-based group that is focused on expanding the presence of women in tech can hear about the work that a hacker/maker group is doing 30 miles away. Perhaps those two entities can host a community workshop together on the importance of open source culture, or one group can expose the other to some new outreach materials and methods.
We're not looking solely at privacy activists to participate here (though they are more than welcome!). One of the purposes of the EFA is to expose as many people as possible to EFF's work and mission, and that means reaching out to those who don't already have us on their speed dial. As long as the groups espouse the 5 simple principles of the EFA, they can apply to be a member.
What roles do outreach and diversity play in EFF's mission to defend digital rights?
I am happy to say that outreach and diversity play a huge role in EFF's future. There's a very organic awareness happening here - every employee has "bought in" to a vision of EFF's community as more diverse and expansive than it has been in the past. We have so much love and respect for our long-time supporters; and we're all eager to expand that base in a way that keeps us relevant to this dynamic, evolving American society. EFF's work has always benefited people from all walks of life, but perhaps a small percentage were actually aware of that.
What advice do you have for people or groups who want to get involved?
I would encourage everyone who cares about civil liberties issues to, first of all, venture into your communities and meet your neighbors! Many people care about these things and you may find really innovative ways to connect with like-minded people around you. Some examples that spring to mind are digital rights-themed book clubs or a movie screening followed by a group discussion on the abuse of surveillance technology.
Groups that are already up and running can apply to be part of the EFA here. We do monthly video conferences where we check in and get aligned on each other's events or campaigns. You'd be amazed how much energy people all over the country are generating on a grassroots level.
Let's talk football. Who's your team?
The Raiders are due, man! (Unless they move to Vegas.)