Tech

Congressional Black Caucus: Silicon Valley Not Diverse Enough

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Kyle Perisic Contributor

Senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus who say that Silicon Valley is not diverse enough took a tour to Silicon Valley to push for tech companies to hire more black Americans on Tuesday.

“Silicon Valley’s economy is booming, but we still don’t have the parity and equity in terms of racial inclusion,” Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents Oakland district in California, told The Hill on Monday. “The lack of understanding of why racial equity is important is mind-boggling to me.”

New York Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks, North Carolina Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield, and California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters joined Lee on a trip to Silicon Valley to push for tech companies to hire more black employees.

“We’re going to demand that these companies become more diverse,” Butterfield said at Lyft’s San Fransisco headquarters.

While Lee refused to name-drop the companies to which she was referring when making her complaints, she and the other members on her trip met with Facebook, Twitter and other tech companies on Tuesday.

“I think from a company perspective, it (hiring more African Americans) helps with their growth, it’s economically beneficial to have a diversity of perspectives,” Lee said.

Lee laid out five “smart principles” for tech companies, which the Congressional Black Caucus believe tech companies “need to look at”:

  1. Support STEM education and job training
  2. Make tech more available and accessible
  3. Address the economic stability of communities in terms of the “instability, displacement, and gentrification that unfortunately is occurring”
  4. Recruit and retain “diverse talent,” specifically African American talent
  5. Targeted investment in “diverse companies and in communities of color”

Lee and other members of the black caucus made a similar push in 2015 and black employment in tech sits currently at around 5 percent, according to Axios.

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