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Meet a Dominican Designer/Web Developer: William Ramírez

This profile is part of a five part series in which the Kapor Center for Social Impact is sharing stories from our diverse tech community in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month!

What type of work do you do?

I like to think of myself as a graphic designer. For the past 7 years I have been splitting my time at working at Design Action Collective and doing wordpress theme and front-end development. Before that I was doing all kind of graphic design work from logos, annual reports, books, brochures, stickers, etc. I really appreciate being able to do both design and basic web development.

How do you identify/What is your background?

I was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. My parents met in a very crowded and popular barrio called Cristo Rey. They both came from different provinces, San Juan de la Maguana and Puerto Plata. That gave us the opportunity to travel to the country side every summer and meet the very extended family we have (over 40 cousins). Even though we were raised in the capital, I feel we spent a good amount of time in the country side helping our grand-parent in their respective farms of cacao, coffee, rise, beans and lots of honey bees. I feel that experience helps me appreciate both rural and urban areas and the impact that technology has on both.

What brought you into tech?

My first job back in 1995. One of my high school friends connected me with a developer in the Dominican Republic who had a company named Info-compu which was creating a database of Dominican laws and jurisprudence. My first task was to scan and OCR (optical character recognition) all the dominican jurisprudence using a software he developed. Then when Windows 95 was released and we needed a website, we both learned HTML.

What do you enjoy most about your role and the work you do?

My clients! They keep me inspired through all of their great work. Our mission at Design Action Collective is to provide visual communication and web development for social change organizations. Every project is an opportunity to learn about the struggles and victories that many of our people are facing.

How do you think tech can help bring more opportunities to the Latinx community?

The lack of diversity in the advertising and tech world is very real. There are few tech convenings that purposely try to be more inclusive-that is changing, slowly… but it is progressing. That said I definitely believe tech helps bring more opportunities in general and the Lanitx community is not an exception. However, finding Latinx web developers has been a bit difficult for us at Design Action.

How can tech better serve the Latinx community?

Tech can empower us to create tools that specifically serve our communities. I remember working on a series of websites to display the issues around obesity in the Latinx community in the NYC area. Having a team of all Latinx from different backgrounds helped create a distinctive message and specific