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Jesse Jackson’s Open Letter to the Tech Industry

Rev Jesse Jackson

The RainbowPUSH Coalition in 2014 appealed to over 25 technology companies to demonstrate a new level of transparency and publicly release their EEO-1 reports and workforce diversity data.

The response was overwhelming. Iconic Silicon Valley companies previously went to court to prevent the release of their data.   We launched PUSHTech2020 to disrupt the silence and resistance, and issue a clarion call for economic empowerment, fairness and opportunity.

Company after company unveiled their diversity data.  A new day dawned in Silicon Valley and the tech industry where diversity and inclusion rose to the top of the industry’s agenda, becoming the civil rights imperative of this era,

Silicon Valley and the technology industry is data driven, and it spoke loudly and clearly: Blacks and Latinos were just 1-3% of their tech and non-tech workforces. The undeniable data exposed the virtual exclusion of Blacks and Latinos from the boardrooms, c-suites and workforces of technology companies.

That, simply put, is inexcusable, unacceptable and inconsistent with the values espoused by tech companies.

Companies pledged to take concrete remedial action to right the wrongs of past practices and policies, to work to change the face of technology so that its leadership, workforce and business partnerships mirror the world in which we live.  That includes the people and communities that technology companies rely upon as the consumers that drive its success.

Entering mid year 2015 one year since the floodgates opened, we now urge you to go deeper and wider in reporting your diversity and inclusion data:

  • Publicly disclose your EEO-1 report and the racial and gender make up of your technical and non-technical workforce.
  • Detail the total number of new hires you made between 2014-2015, and the number and percentage of these new hires from African American and Latino backgrounds.
  • Report the gender and racial composition of your Board of Directors and C-suite leadership team.
  • Publicly release the affirmative action plan that you provide to the OFCCP (for federal contractors).
  • Describe new diversity and inclusion polices and practices, partnerships and initiatives that your company is implementing – for example, a Rooney Rule where qualified persons of color must be interviewed for open board seats, new hires, and all procurement/vendor/consultant contract opportunities.
  • Describe any new training provided to existing workforce, and incentives to existing leaders to reach company goals.

We hope to receive this information by September 30, 2015, at which time you are required to have filed your EEO-1 reports with the federal government.  The information collected will provide the foundation for a PUSHTech2020 report.

It’s Year Two of the Diversity and Inclusion Challenge.  It’s time to take stock of what has been done: what has worked and what hasn’t.   Are the pledges and commitments matching real results?   Are any tech companies making a real difference and, if so, how?  If not, why not?

Rainbow PUSH argues that companies must set specific, quantifiable diversity and inclusion goals, targets and timetables.  Without them, the ability to measure and be accountable for progress will be difficult.

Change must be real.  As the technology industry – the most innovative and revolutionary economic engine – drives the world into the future, women, people of color cannot be left behind.

Finally, I assert that Silicon Valley and the tech industry, at your best, can be a tremendously positive change agent for the world; at your worst, you can hold on to old patterns that exclude people of color and women from opportunity and advancement and hold back progress. You have demonstrated that you can solve some of the most challenging complex problems in the world.   Inclusion is a complex problem – if we put our collective minds to it, we can solve this one, too.

In today’s world, when people of color will soon be California’s majority population, and the new majority of America by 2040, diversity and inclusion drive the consumer marketplace and give companies the competitive advantage they need to succeed.

50 years ago today the Voting Rights Act was signed into law.   We crossed that bridge.  Now we must cross another bridge leading to jobs, economic empowerment and justice. Inclusion leads to growth, and when there is growth, everybody wins.  Let’s cross the bridge.


Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr.

President and Founder

Rainbow PUSH Coalition


View original article here.

Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr.,  October 28, 2010 (Source: Flickr)




    UrbanGeekz Staff
    UrbanGeekz Staff
    UrbanGeekz is the first to market tech blog focused on covering content from a diverse and multicultural perspective. The groundbreaking videocentric multimedia platform covers technology, business, science, and startups.