Tag: diversity in tech industry

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Reprimands Employees For Crossing Out Black Lives Matter Signs

facebook chalk wall
wall at Facebook (photo via money.cnn.com)

article by Hope King via money.cnn.com

Mark Zuckerberg has always encouraged Facebook employees to think for themselves, but one issue is trying his patience.

People have been crossing out “black lives matter” on the walls of Facebook‘s headquarters and writing “all lives matter.”

The founder and CEO addressed the issue at a company-wide Q&A session last week. But it didn’t stop. Zuckerberg wrote a strongly worded memo to employees earlier this week about “several recent instances.”

In his note, the Facebook (FBTech30) CEO seemed frustrated by the fact that the act has continued, despite making it clear in the past that it was “unacceptable.”

“I was already very disappointed by this disrespectful behavior before,” Zuckerberg wrote. “But after my communication I now consider this malicious as well …This has been a deeply hurtful and tiresome experience for the black community and really the entire Facebook community.”

#BlackLivesMatter sprung to life as a hashtag in 2012 after the death of Trayvon Martin. The phrase went viral on social media, drawing people into a conversation about police brutality and inequality, and unifying thousands across the country on these issues. Some people pushed back with the slogan “all lives matter.”

“But when someone says ALL lives matter, it can sound like that person is dismissing the specific pain behind the slogan,” CNN’s Donna Brazile wrote last year. “Those who are experiencing the pain and trauma of the black experience in this country don’t want their rallying cry to be watered down with a generic feel-good catchphrase.”

Zuckerberg gave his own interpretation of the movement: “‘Black lives matter’ doesn’t mean other lives don’t — it’s simply asking that the black community also achieves the justice they deserve.”

Some walls of Facebook’s offices are covered in whiteboards in chalkboards. Usually adorned with signs reading, “write something,” they’re covered in layers of messages, doodles and signatures from employees and visitors.

“Crossing out something means silencing speech, or that one person’s speech is more important than another’s,” Zuckerberg admonished.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed that the memo had been sent but would not tell CNNMoney if those responsible for the acts had been identified or disciplined.

Here’s the full text of the memo, obtained by Gizmodo:

“There have been several recent instances of people crossing out ‘black lives matter’ and writing ‘all lives matter’ on the walls at MPK.

Despite my clear communication at Q&A last week that this was unacceptable, and messages from several other leaders from across the company, this has happened again. I was already very disappointed by this disrespectful behavior before, but after my communication I now consider this malicious as well.

There are specific issues affecting the black community in the United States, coming from a history of oppression and racism. ‘Black lives matter’ doesn’t mean other lives don’t — it’s simply asking that the black community also achieves the justice they deserve.

We’ve never had rules around what people can write on our walls — we expect everybody to treat each other with respect. Regardless of the content or location, crossing out something means silencing speech, or that one person’s speech is more important than another’s. Facebook should be a service and a community where everyone is treated with respect.

This has been a deeply hurtful and tiresome experience for the black community and really the entire Facebook community, and we are now investigating the current incidents.

I hope and encourage people to participate in the Black@ town hall on 3/4 to educate themselves about what the Black Lives Matter movement is about.”

To read more, go to: http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/25/technology/mark-zuckerberg-black-lives-matter/

30 HBCU Students Receive Scholarships from Apple in $40 Million Diversity Effort

(Image: Denise Smith Young - fortune.com)
Apple VP Denise Young-Smith (photo via fortune.com)

Apple made a $40 million dollar multi-year commitment, the largest and most comprehensive corporate investment ever given exclusively for students and faculty of four-year HBCUs.  Apple awarded 30 HBCU students a one-year college scholarship and a summer internship program at Apple’s headquarters at the Leadership Institute in Washington D.C., last weekend.

Hosted by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) the students were chosen from across 47 HBCUs. The 30 Apple scholars were announced by Denise Young-Smith, vice president for worldwide human resources, Apple. Young-Smith is herself a graduate of an HBCU; Grambling State University.

“The people at Apple don’t just create products—they create the kind of wonder that’s revolutionized entire industries,” remarked Young-Smith at the ceremony. “And it’s the diversity of those people and their ideas that inspires the innovation that runs through everything we do, from amazing technology to industry-leading environmental efforts,” she said.

The Apple HBCU Scholars Program is part of the new Apple and TMCF Diversity Initiative between Cupertino and TMCF. As part of the partnership, Apple made a $40 million dollar multi-year commitment, the largest and most comprehensive corporate investment ever given exclusively for students and faculty of four-year HBCUs.

“There are ‘scholarships’ and then there are ‘scholarship programs,’” said TMCF President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. “Apple has made an historic investment in a scholarship program that will transform the lives of HBCU star students by not only removing the financial barriers to college attendance, but by providing them additional non-financial program elements like Apple mentors and summer internships. These Apple HBCU Scholars will be the future tech industry leaders.”

The scholarship includes up to $25,000 for their senior year; a summer internship in Cupertino, California; participation in a year-round program to prepare for post-graduation careers; pairing with an Apple mentor during their senior year; the opportunity to serve as Ambassadors on their campuses to build awareness about the Apple and TMCF Diversity Initiative; an invitation to attend TMCF’s Annual Leadership Institute; and participation in the Apple HBCU Immersion Experience in Cupertino.

“This program is about exposing gifted students from HBCUs to a career in technology. We’re big believers that innovation will be strongest when talented people from diverse backgrounds are part of the creative process,” said Young-Smith. “That’s why we’re so proud to be partnering with TMCF to help us find the next generation of innovators.”

One of the Apple HBCU scholars, Lauren Patterson, previously interned at Apple. She introduced Young-Smith at the event.

“I learned a lot at Apple last summer. It was a great experience working with people from all backgrounds,” said Patterson. “I love to code,” she said. Patterson wants to do anything “code-related” for a career, including being a software engineer.

Here is the full list of the Apple HBCU Scholars and their schools:

Angelica Willis, North Carolina A&T
Bethlehem Zergaw, Alabama A&M
Bushra-Sultan Yagboyaju, Fisk
Chukwuemelie Onwubuya, Allen University
Dakari Franklin, Morehouse
Darnel Williams, Grambling State University
David Nesbeth, Howard University
Deshaun Crawford, Delaware State University
Ebenezer Nkrumah, Fisk University
Grant Pope, Morehouse
Khaliq Satchell, Elizabeth City State University
Lauren Patterson, Hampton University
Malik Jones, Hampton
Maurita Ament, Spelman
Mya Havard, Spelman
Nathaniel Spindler, Fayetteville State University
Naya Coard, Spelman
Nhan Mai, Alabama A&M
Nia Farmer, Howard University
Paris Griffin, Chicago State
Richard Igbiriki, Lincoln U (PA)
Ropafadzo Ropa Denga, Spelman
Sakshyam Dahal, Claflin
Taha Merghani, Jackson State University
Tatyana Matthews, Elizabeth City State University
Timothy Baba, Huston-Tillotson/Prairie View A& M (3-2)
Todd Boone II, Prairie View A & M
Xavier Crutcher, Alabama A&M
Zanetta Tyler, North Carolina A & T
Gaston Seneza, Philander Smith
Paul Hammond, North Carolina A&T

article by Samara Lynn via blackenterprise.com

Google Commits $150 million in 2015 to Diversify Tech

Google diversity doodle (via Google.com)
Google diversity doodle (via Google.com)

The Mountain View, Calif., tech giant Google is trying to get more women and minorities into technology with an ambitious $150 million plan. Google told CNNMoney half that money will go to outside organizations and communities, while the other half will be used internally to make Google more inclusive.

In a blog post this week, VP of People Operations Nancy Lee laid out the company’s strategy for 2015. It follows earlier public efforts by Google (GOOG) to increase diversity, including sending Google engineers to historically black universities and and working with Disney (DIS) to improve depictions of girls in computer science. In 2014, the company put $114 million toward diversity programs.

The company is also expanding where it looks for fresh talent by recruiting at a wider variety of colleges. The lack of diversity in tech goes deeper than just the HR department. As was highlighted in the Ellen Pao gender discrimination trial, company culture is also key to keeping and encouraging a diverse workforce. Google is offering more internal training and workshops on unconscious bias, and employees can use part of their time to work on diversity initiatives.

It’s also looking at the root of the problem, expanding computer science education for kids and pushing to get under-served communities online.

The company still has a lot of work to do. According to the diversity report it released last year, only 17% of its tech workers are female, 1% of its tech workforce is black and 2% are Hispanic. In the blog post, Lee said Google plans to release 2015 diversity numbers soon.

In March, Google executive Eric Schmidt was called out during a panel on diversity at SXSW for repeatedly interrupting Megan Smith, the chief technology officer of the U.S. and a former Googler. The audience member who pointed it out was Judith Williams, the manager of Google’s global diversity and talent programs.

It’s not the only company putting money into diversity. Apple has donated $50 million to organizations that will help more minorities and women get into tech. Intel is sinking $300 million into a program that expands STEM education to more diverse students.

article by

Intel Allocates $300 Million to Diversify Tech Industry

Brian M. Krzanich, chief of Intel, in Las Vegas on Tuesday. “This is the right time to make a bold statement,” he said. (Credit: Rick Wilking/Reuters) 

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the last year, Apple, Google and other big technology companies have faced mounting criticism by civil rights leaders about the lack of diversity in their work forces, which are populated mostly by white and Asian men.

Now Intel, the giant chip maker, is taking more concrete steps to do something about it.

On Tuesday, Intel said the company’s work force would better reflect the available talent pool of women and underrepresented minority groups in the United States within five years. If successful, the plan would increase the population of women, blacks, Hispanics and other groups at Intel by at least 14 percent during that period, the company said.

In addition, Intel said it has established a $300 million fund to be used in the next three years to improve the diversity of the company’s work force, attract more women and minorities to the technology field and make the industry more hospitable to them once they get there. The money will be used to fund engineering scholarships and to support historically black colleges and universities.

The company also said it would invest in efforts to bring more women into the games business, partly as an antidote to the harassment feminist critics and game developers have faced in recent months. Intel became part of the furor last year when, under pressure, it withdrew an advertising campaign from a game website that had run an essay by a feminist game critic, a move it later said it regretted.

“This is the right time to make a bold statement,” Brian M. Krzanich, Intel’s chief executive, said in a phone interview. Mr. Krzanich announced the plans on Tuesday in a speech at the International CES, a huge trade show in Las Vegas. “It’s kind of Intel’s culture. We march by Moore’s Law. We say we’re going to reinvent Silicon every two years even though we don’t really know how we’re going to pull that off.”

Many of the largest technology companies have released reports showing that roughly 70 percent of their employees are men and 30 percent are women. Depending on the company, blacks account for anywhere from 2 to 7 percent of workers at big tech companies.

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., who has led a campaign to pressure technology companies on diversity, said Intel was going beyond what others have done to remedy the imbalance in their work forces by setting more specific goals for hiring.

“There is no comparison,” said Mr. Jackson, the founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, who has spoken to Intel about its plans. “It is far beyond at this point. I think others are going to follow their lead.”

Intel’s goals, though, face the harsh reality described by many technology leaders: The supply of skilled workers from underrepresented groups, especially in technical fields like engineering, is limited.

Rosalind L. Hudnell, Intel’s chief diversity officer, cited statistics showing that just 18 percent of undergraduate engineering degrees go to women. That makes it especially difficult to improve diversity at Intel, which leans more heavily on technical employees than other tech companies.

“We hire more engineers; we just do, and that pipeline is less,” said Ms. Hudnell.

Continue reading “Intel Allocates $300 Million to Diversify Tech Industry”