As thousands of attendees swarmed into the first day of Dreamforce, the conference focused on giving back, they discovered that not all was well in the Salesforce-sponsored dreamland.
In fact, the Dreamforce site included a truck-sized wooden cage with the Salesforce logo hung on one side, and the Department of Homeland Security flag flapping wildly on another — a protest of Salesforce’s contract with the Customs and Border Protection Agency.
“STOP SEPARATING FAMILIES!” activists shouted as they waved signposts against the anti-immigration policies of the Trump Administration.
Passersby, most wearing baby-blue Dreamforce lanyards, pulled out their phones and recorded, grinned and seemingly humored the protestors.
The cage was manned by two activists in high-visibility vests who climbed inside and pushed the lumbering structure onto Fourth Street, then around to Howard and back up through Minna. They were given the okay to circuit on these streets twice and, by the second lap, most onlookers looked annoyed.
Kevin Ortiz, Vice President of Political Affairs for the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club, said the idea behind today’s demonstration was to highlight the $40 million contract Salesforce has with the federal border patrol agency. Ortiz said that doing so is equivalent to supporting the agency’s separation of immigrant children from their families.
“It’s unfortunate that a company and executive team that claims to be about values is helping to separate and detain families,” Ortiz said.
Mark Burdette was another activist at the demonstration. He works in the tech industry, and even builds customer relationship software similar to some of Salesforce’s products. He took time off work to join the protest, and argued that building software to deny migrants their human rights is immoral.
“Everyone deserves human rights and dignity when they cross the border; that means keeping families together and giving them the right representation,” Burdette said. “Building software to detain countless thousands is not giving us border security, that’s just destroying people’s lives.”
Dreamforce is scheduled to run until Sept. 28 at Moscone Center.