Ana Sisnett (1952-2009) was Executive Director from 1998-2006 of Austin Free-Net, a community technology center. But her pioneering on the internet began earlier when she co-founded Technomama with Gisele-Audrey Mills. Technomama worked with the Institute for Global Communications (IGC) and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) back when the text-only internet presented more opportunities for social justice activism than for consumerism. Funded in part by the Foundation for a Compassionate Society, Technomama trained women left out of the digital revolution and viewed equal access and ability as an international human rights issue.
An early adopter who delighted as much as the next geek over a new application or gadget, Ana nevertheless always thought through the complex questions of access, training, and ability. If the technology excluded, well, then…where’s the fix? She admired the work of Knowbility, whose annual AIR-Interactive (Accessible Internet Rally) features a web-design contest focusing on assistive technology and accessible design.
Over the last three years, Ana struggled with ovarian cancer, and she passed away on January 13. She leaves behind many, many people who were touched by her vision of a usable and just technology that bridges differences and helps us realize our better selves.