Lyft ain’t no saint either...
But here is why you should choose them over Uber.
A month into Pelo de Elote’s executive orders, we have already witnessed an interesting moment when Uber’s founder Travis Kalanick expressed a willingness to support the new administration. Kalanick has since become a member of Trump’s business advisory council. Immediately, the hashtag “DeleteUber” started trending. Lyft made public his decision to donate one million dollars to the ACLU--an organization that has sworn to fight Agent Orange’s immigration ban.
Lyft is also not immune to the controversial alignment. Kalanick’s move, left many asking themselves “Is Lyft free of any wrongdoing”, the answer is NO. They have major investors who are part of Trump’s team, such as the case of Carl Icahn (special advisor on regulation) and Peter Thiel (economic advisor). Also, Lyft benefits from anti-regulatory labor policies and extended arbitration that leave its’ employees without clear labor rights.
But so what? We live in a country built on capitalism. Almost every single aspect of our existence rests on the oppression of someone else. From the clothes you wear to the food you eat, it is all an inescapable network of products that are responsible for, or benefit, from humanitarian crises as devastating as the occupation of Gaza by Israel. Take for example, companies like Hewlett Packard and Motorola who provide the Israel army with the technology necessary to brutally “control” the Palestinian population in Gaza. Oppression is everywhere in our society but that’s not the point I'm trying to make here.
It’s not about supporting one company because they are Blancas Palomitas or rejecting the other because they are Satanas. It’s about encouraging good actions and making a statement.
For five years I worked in the HIV prevention department at Mission Neighborhood Health Center in San Francisco as an HIV testing counselor. Aside from testing, I would assess the individual’s risk, offer referrals, and suggest steps to minimize their risk. The most important message our department drilled into our heads was “Risk Reduction” – It didn’t matter how much of a change an individual made so as long as it was in the direction of reducing his/her risk to contract HIV and it was realistic. Lyft took a step in the right direction and we must reward them for it. By switching to Lyft we are sending a clear message: “If you want our money, this is what we expect from you.”
Of course, this does not mean that Lyft should from now on be seen as the exemplary model for a company. We should keep pushing them to do better by shedding light to the ways in which they contribute to the system of oppression and denounce them for it. But let ‘s get off our pedestals and remind ourselves that from one day to the next they won’t be free of any wrong doing (shit, we aren’t). Change does not happen by measuring ourselves up against someone, but by celebrating steps towards change. In the meantime I’ll continue to use their service until another company raises the bar even higher and earn my economic vote.
Xavier Galindo - San Francisco, CA