Two months ago, Code for San Francisco lost a friend. Ethan Lang was a passionate civic hacker who had moved to San Francisco in October to live with his brother. He quickly found his place in the Bay Area, joining the LocalFreeWeb initiative and starting a job at City Hall. Ethan passed away in the night of January 30, after a short illness.
Ethan’s life ended but he will forever live on in the memories of those who met him. Everything Ethan did came from love and compassion. He was a life coach to some, a role model to many, a son and brother to others, and most importantly, a friend to all.
Throughout his life, Ethan was involved in community activities, from participating in musicals and being captain of the swim team in high school, to guiding incoming freshmen as an orientation student advisor in college, to volunteering at Code for San Francisco every Wednesday night.
A background in political science and public relations led Ethan halfway around the world to Istanbul, Turkey where he worked for a political consultancy company, APCO Worldwide. In San Francisco, Ethan found his passion for politics and innovation converge. He was immediately attracted to Code for America’s San Francisco Brigade. His lack of coding knowledge did not stop him from pursuing opportunities in civic tech. With undying motivation to bridge the digital divide with LocalFreeWeb, Ethan organized weekend flyering parties around the city, motivating even his laziest friends to dedicate a couple of hours to a good cause.In January, he began a new job at California Public Utilities Commission.
Ethan fell ill with a fever that lasted several days in late January. He was feeling much better after receiving antibiotics. On the night before he passed, he made dinner with his brother and they shared jokes and smiles.
Ethan loved to bring people together through music. His friends, family and loved ones will never forget his footloose spirit and ability to always get them on a dance floor. In Turkey, he was known to dance at a traditional turkish bar with locals in a bar mitzvah-type circle. In 2011, while celebrating at the Boston Marathon, he never stopped jiving to the street music, despite warning from policemen. “Dancin’ ain’t illegal,” he’d say. He inspired people around him to enjoy life to the fullest and not take anything too seriously. His dance moves could cure anyone during the saddest of times – and they still do.
Ethan lived with intention. He sought to connect with every individual with whom he crossed paths. He explored the world with wide eyes and a full heart, soaking up new cultures and going on new adventures without rest. His warm affability made him friends in all corners of the world. From Turkey to Australia, by way of Boston, Minnetonka, and San Francisco, Ethan’s contributions to the world are countless. His contagious laughter, enduring altruism and sweet dance moves will be sorely missed.
Please join us on Saturday April 18 at Ocean Beach for a bonfire and potluck honoring Ethan’s time with us. Whether you spoke to him once or knew him for years, he touched every single person he met. Let’s all come together and honor his memory in true Ethan fashion – with good food, big smiles, a bonfire, and lots of dancing.