(Actionable) Blackout Tuesday

It’s 11pm on #blackouttuesday and I’ve been scrolling through a seemingly infinite number of black squares on all of my social media accounts. I’ve seen some incredibly beautiful tributes, calls to actions, and just plain support both from within and without the community. In light of current events, it warms even my hard little soul that there are so many people in my social spheres who are so willing to publicly support the less privileged.

However, I couldn’t bring myself to only post another black square in a sea of black squares. So I remained silent all day. Until I came across a friend’s post that stuck out:

Photo by Ahsan Farooqi on June 02, 2020. Image may contain: text that says 'Sorry all. won't posting a blackout pic because being silent is the problem. Instead post action items. Please donating, sign petitions, and if able calls. Here are some suggestions get you www.runwithmaud.com -Minnesota freedom fund (Bail out protestors. There are ones for many major cities) tps://gf.me/u/x4xyax (George Floyd Memorial Fund) -Be on the lookout for the ability to help with medical bills protestors. l.e. Brad Ayala face a sniper while far from protestors. -And follow @grassrootslaw, @shaunking, @leemerittesq as they post action items and causes. And most of all, harass your representatives to take action!'

So with that, here’s that info in (my edited) text form.

Alongside a blackout pic, I’d like to post action items. Please consider donating, sign petitions, and if able, make calls.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • https://www.runwithmaud.com
  • Minnesota freedom fund (Bail out protestors. There are ones for many major cities.)
  • https://gf.me/u/x4xyax (George Floyd Memorial Fund)
  • Be on the lookout for the ability to help with medical bills of protestors. I.e. Brad Ayala who was shot in the face by a police sniper while standing far away from protestors.
  • Follow resources within the community like @grassrootslaw, @shaunking, and @leemerittesq as they post action items and causes

And most of all, harass your representatives to take action. You can google contact information or use services like https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative

There are so many resources available to anyone who is looking. This is also a post a friend recommended as a good jumping off point as well.

I hope the information above helps y’all get started.

Hello my name is…

Hi! My name is Nancy. Er and Riddhi. Does it help to know that I respond to either?

*taken many months ago pre-pandemic

I have an Indian name that my parents were told would be too hard for white people to say. So now I’m Riddhi in some places and Nancy others.

Normally, I will introduce myself as Nancy. It’s easy to say and simple to remember.

But lately I’ve been feeling like it’s not exactly representative of who I am. It’s not that I don’t like it. I do. But it’s confused people for ages and brought up conversations which bring up even more questions.

There have been countless conversations that go something like this:

I was just talking to my parents and they said “Riddhi, just do XYZ and I said-

Wait, who’s Riddhi?

Oh, right. Sorry that’s me. It’s my Indian name.

Ohhhh! That makes so much sense. I was wondering about Nancy.

Yeah…my parents gave me that name to make things easier for non-Indian people to say. So Riddhi became Nancy.

Why not just give you an easier to say Indian name?

Because my mom loved Riddhi. And gosh darn it, it was going to stay. Even if it wasn’t official.

Alright, fair. But why Nancy then? Why not just something similar to Riddhi?

It was was a popular cartoon strip character, the wife of a US president, a renowned ice skater. Nancy had renown But it was also not terribly common. How many 20-something-year-old Nancy’s do you know?

If that doesn’t help clarify, I’ll include something along the lines of “It’s kinda like how other Asian folks have an ‘English’ name and a ‘Chinese/Korean/etc’ name.”

Sometimes it also turns into a tangential lesson on how to say Riddhi or Thanki. The pronunciation of my last name is another story for another time.

Or it becomes something like Hasan Minhaj’s experience with his name. I recommend watching the video for the full context.

So most of the world knows me as Nancy.

Except for family and some close friends who know me as Riddhi.

It’s usually only other Indians who feel comfortable enough with the pronounciation to call me Riddhi (though some non-Indians really like the feeling of the name).

Not every language consists of every sound a human is able to create. Gujurati has a “dth” sound not commonly found in other languages. So it may be hard to get your tongue to make it.

That’s okay!

When I was in Copenhagen, no matter how much I tried, I could not master the 40+ vowel sounds in the Danish language. (For reference, English has 6.) I was lucky enough to have very gracious classmates and friends who were patient with my butchering of their mother tongue. They did tell me that it’s hard for anyone who is not a native Danish speaker to be able to hear the differences, let alone make the sounds. To be fair, I don’t know how much of it was just to soothe my ego.

I’m more than happy to help you learn how to say my name. Just ask my high school principal who spent a half-hour with me learning how to say my full name for graduation πŸ˜€

Just please don’t ask me for nicknames. And for the love of all things spicy, don’t call me “Nan”.

In the same way as the great Uzo Abuda explains her mother’s reaction to asking to be called Zoe because no one could say her name, “β€œIf they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.”

At the end of the day, I really do respond to both. But I always wonder what either means to the person I am speaking to and how different their understanding of me would be if I had used the other name.

Pronounciation Guide

  • Nancy: nan-cee
  • Riddhi: ri-dthee
  • Thanki: thaan-key

Two Years Down

Two years ago, I was in Phoenix dealing with a dead rental car full of stuff. I was also driving across the California border at sunset and in Hollywood by midnight.

Sunset crossing the California border - Sept 10, 2017
Here’s the California border if anyone’s curious πŸ˜€


It’s been a heck of a ride since. Southern California has definitely taken my heart in a way I couldn’t have imagined then. No, it’s not just the weather (but how could I not enjoy all of the sun?). Or even the scenery (reading on the beach after hiking a mountain trail on the same day!).

It’s the feeling of accomplishment, survival, growth. Albeit, some of it came after much kicking and screaming. I’ve never lived so far away for family or my inner circle — thank goodness for text messaging, phone calls, and facetime! I’ve made new friends and created more circles. I’m still working on having game nights and potlucks though (Sidenote: Anyone know how to get folks to cross the 405 on a regular or even irregular basis?)

It was such a milestone when I realized I could get around the city without Google Maps-ing my way everywhere. Even more so when I could find faster shortcuts!

All of this to say, the two years have flown by and dragged on. Another 730 days older (I see you wrinkles!), wiser (pfft…maybe), and weathered (wear that sunscreen folks!).

Besides, can it really be real if Facebook didn’t remind me or I don’t post online about it for the world to see?

It’s a process. Quitting won’t speed it up.

Went down an internet rabbit hole…you as you do on a Friday morning when you’re internally debating when and how to get up because there are things to do but the bed is so comfy.

And I came across an article about a woman who lost 30 pounds in 100 days – an incredibly feat!

I can’t speak to her methods or anything else, but the headline was enough to get me to her instagram feed, where I found this:

It’s a slow process but quitting won’t speed it up.

I’m working on several things at the moment, personally and professionally. It’s all slow going and full of uphill battles. Pushing a boulder up a never ending mountain.

It feels like nothing is working and worse yet, that no progress is being made. I feel so utterly stuck. And it’s debilitating.

But it’s all in my head.

Because the amount of work I’ve put in has had impact, whether I see it or not.

Whether it worked as planned or not.

Whether I succeeded.

Or not.

I am improved having gone through what I have so far.

I really am better/stronger/smarter/faster. Something I notice only when I can pull my head out of my head if you know what I mean πŸ˜€

It was a freaking slow process.

And rarely on my timeline.

Going in fits and starts time and again.

And it still is slow, not on my timeline, and has starts and stops.

But I’ve gotten this far.

And quitting wouldn’t have helped (and didn’t help) anyone, least of all myself.

So this is a long tribute to myself. It’s something I’ve long needed to recognize about myself.

In sharing, I hope you too can see that in yourself.

Speaking and Paneling at WC Udaipur 2017

In about an hour, I will have the pleasure of speaking at WC Udaipur on the GPL. I’ll also be speaking on a panel later today for Women In WordPress. It’s my first time in Rajasthan and Udaipur. The city is absolutely beautiful and the organizers and volunteers have done an amazing job with the camp.

As I’ve done before, I’m posting my slides in advance for anyone who’d like to follow along or come back to anything we talked about after the talk πŸ™‚

Please get in touch if you have any questions or want to talk further!

WC Pune – Let’s Encrypt Talk + Panel Discussion

WCPune-speaker-black- badgeWordCamp Pune has kindly accepted my talk on Let’s Encrypt as well as asking me to talk on a panel about non-development careers in WordPress.

Since there is a lot of information covered in my talk and only about 30 minutes, I’ve posted my slides here for attendees to follow along or go back to later.

Please feel free to shoot me an email or tweet if you’d like to talk more about anything we covered!

WordCamp Atlanta 2016 aka Accessible Websites: What are they and why should I care?

Another WordCamp, another talk about accessibility πŸ˜‰

I’m really glad to be given the opportunity to talk at WordCamp Atlanta for the second year in a row. Here are my slides for the talk for anyone who wants to follow along in real time or happens to stumble upon this in the future:

Demystifying Web Accessibility

It’s bright and early Friday morning, and I’m getting ready for the first day of WCUS (WordCamp US for anyone who doesn’t follow all things WordPress).Β I’m so excited to be here and able to meet all of the awesome people attending. It’s supposed to be nearly 2000 (eek!).

I’m also speaking this morning, hence the very early wakeup call πŸ™‚ I’ll be talking about web accessibility, something that I’ve been getting more and more interested in over the last year or so. Here’s the official description of today’s talk:

Accessibility is so much more than just catering to screen readers. What goes into making a website accessible? Many government contracts require websites to be accessible. A variety of companies and brands want them. It can affect the β€œmagic” of SEO (ranking, search-ability, search engine karma, etc). How can you determine whether or not your website is?

Ultimately, it’s really not that hard, doing even one thing is better than nothing at all, and it’s never too late to start thinking about it. This presentation will discuss both tools and techniques that can help you build accessible websites.

If you’re into this sorta thingΒ and want to come geek out about it with another person, or you have any questions or want to talk about the awesomeness of dogs or finding the perfect veggie philly cheesesteak, please come find me! In case anyone would like to follow along, I’ve posted the slides below as well as through SlideShare.