In order for change to take place, one must stand up for it. As many may know, political figures have helped people of color fight for change. The change from slavery to freedom, political change that gave people of color the right to vote and now, there is change to diversify the technology field.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition partnered with Google to present, “Dream Makers, Risk Takers and Money Makers: Diversity and Inclusion in Tech Conference” at the Google headquarters located in Los Angeles, California. The panel discussions are a part of an ongoing program designed to recognize and facilitate ways to introduce people of color into the technology industry.
The discussions also explored avenues on how to increase the level of diversity in the Silicon Valley and to expand to other locations.
Jackson and Google executives were accompanied by a panel of esteemed technology executives who explored in detail the best way to increase diversity and innovation in technology. The participants included Malik Ducard, Global Head of Family & Learning, YouTube; Navarro Wright, Founder, The Close the Divide Project; Jamaal Finkley, President, Black Tree TV; Pierre Johnson, Executive Director, Peggy Beatrice Foundation; Kelly Redmond, Executive Director, Impact Media & Entertainment Coalition; and Sheila Marmon, Founder & CEO, Mirror Digital.
Glenda Gill, Executive Director of Rainbow PUSH and Chris Genteel, Head of Diversity Markets & Supplier Diversity for Google, opened the forum by introducing the partnership.
“Our goal is to bring unheard voices front and center. We are the conduits to get you heard,” Gill said. Genteel added, “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it accessible. With Rainbow PUSH, our mission is to make that information accessible to all.”
Navarrow Wright led the interactive panel discussion. The panelists spoke about the many challenges and opportunities minorities face in the field of technology.
Each panelist gave insight into how the rapidly changing nature of technology and the spread of information will allow people of any color to gain a foothold in the industry and monetize their efforts.
“It is important for companies like Google to open their doors for us, but it is equally important for us to show up,” said Marmon.
Following the panel discussions, Wright sat down with Grammy-winning gospel singer/songwriter Erica Campbell to discuss launching and growing her YouTube channel and content creation.
“If you are trying to reach people, social media is a great way to find out if you have. Each [YouTube] subscriber is not just a number for me. They are a person who is interested in what I am doing,” said Campbell.
The event concluded with a discussion between Ducard and Jackson to further explore the goals of the Push Tech 2020 initiative and solutions that support diversity in technology and beyond.
Jackson shared what goal he wanted to meet by having the forum and how Google and RPC collaborated.
“My goal is for people to achieve their highest and best based off their potential and their work and not to be punished because of their race, religion or gender.” Jackson said. “Google has something we want, technology. We have something Google wants, market. Together, we have something that each other needs. We represent money, market, talent and location. As for Google, they represent technology. With that collaborative effort, it makes both of us stronger and better.”
With an audience full of emerging entertainment and technology executives, event panelists and speakers provided valuable insight on diversifying the technology field, including taking advantage of expanding platforms and resources and monetizing efforts at every opportunity.
For more information regarding the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, go to rainbowpush.org, follow them on social media at, @rpcoalition or use the hashtag, #PUSHTech2020.