In an unprecedented move, Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition brought together 25 tech companies, civil rights organizations, venture capitalists, non-profits, entrepreneurs and U.S. Department of Labor office at Intel in Santa Clara on Dec. 10.
“(This) is the result of conversations to bring about collaborative efforts to make a change in the tech industry,” said Jackson, who has pressured a number of the largest tech companies to share their workforce demographic data.
Billed as an adversity and inclusion forum, the event featured African American leaders work at the tech titans Google, HP, Intel, Facebook, Verizon, and Cisco, among others. The forum was coordinated by Rainbow Push Communications Director Butch Wing and Executive Director Glenda Gill.
“Tech industry has demonstrated that it can solve the most complex and challenging problems in the world – inclusion is a complex problem that can be solved,” said Jackson.
Among the panelists were Intel Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Rosalind Hudnell, Intel Supplier Diversity Manager Minea Moore; Pandora Diversity Program Manager Lisa Lee, and HP Chief Diversity Officer Brian Tippens.
Other panelists included HP Strategic Procurement Manager, InMichael McQuarry; Google Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Yolanda Mangolini; Cisco Chief Collaboration and Inclusion Officer Shari Slate; Microsoft General Manager of Global Diversity and Inclusion Gwen Houston; Google Head of Diversity Markets Chris Genteel; and Verizon Vice President of Entertainment and Tech Policy Eric Reed.
“There’s a whole body of people who qualify to be on boards, in C-suites and employed in the tech industry and Black, Brown and women are underrepresented,” said Jackson.
“These companies get government contracts and government taxes and have every obligation to open up the marketplace responsibly,” he said.
Jackson suggested corporations reveal the deficits in diversity and set goals and timelines for change. He also proposed making a deal with the government to provide 10 percent of the $5 trillion in offshore tax monies.
“If you took 10 percent and made a deal with the government, labor and corporations and customers to reinvest to build an infrastructure for purposes and money set aside for capital…there’s enough money to be used for diversifying a
Jackson made reference to the needs of two students he had met at the Oakland Emiliano Zapata Street Academy. “Every city should have a STEM high school, and all schools should have studies relevant to the future created in Oakland, San Jose, Memphis, etc,” said Jackson.