Thoughts on the executive order on immigration

Since the president issued his executive order on immigration, I’ve been watching the political fight unfold and reading other CEOs’ responses, while trying to put into words exactly how I feel about it.

I grew up in Dalian, China and at the age of 13, I became the first member of my family to immigrate to the United States. I was also the first in my family to attend and graduate college. I taught myself English because in China I saw firsthand how English literacy could create economic mobility for people. I knew that living in the U.S. and learning English would help me achieve my dreams. I didn’t want my future to be dictated; I’ve always understood the value of hard work, and want to put in the effort to achieve a goal.

We often talk about how learning to code is like learning a new language, and I see similar economic opportunities in America for people who learn programming. It’s why I feel so strongly about Coding Dojo’s mission to transform lives through programming literacy.

I believe we provide anyone the opportunity to change their future, especially under-served groups like minorities, women, veterans and immigrants. That’s why we partner with organizations like Jewish Family Service (JFS) to provide education to refugees.

In partnership with JFS, we recently started the program to train highly skilled refugees to learn to code and welcomed our first round of refugees into our Bellevue campus’ December cohort, refugees who are joining us from Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan and China. These students are like me, seeking an opportunity to change the course of their future. They’re coming here in the spirit of hope and peace, not in threat or conflict. Microsoft has already committed to hire a few of the graduates, and Expedia committed to interview all of the participants. Additionally, we have Facebook, Zillow, Uber and other tech companies who are interested to support.

It saddened me to see the news of President Trump’s executive order on immigration, and like many of you, I feel frustrated by our government’s inability to uphold the values our country was built upon, to welcome with open arms those who are less fortunate.

What makes America great is a diversity of backgrounds, beliefs and ideas. What drives us is a shared desire to do good in this world, and that is what binds us in spite of our differences.

Regardless of what transpires over the next four years, I remain committed to helping others, to provide avenues for them to learn so they can improve their future. I believe Coding Dojo makes a difference in the lives of those we teach and I hope you, too, feel that same passion and commitment.

— Richard Wang, CEO of Coding Dojo


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