Press Releases

May 15, 2014

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. – Rainbow PUSH Coalition Remarks before Google Shareholder Meeting

 

 

View Rev. Jackson's remarks at http://www.tubechop.com/watch/3245761

 

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. – Rainbow PUSH Coalition

Remarks before google Shareholder Meeting

May 13, 2014

 

Larry, David, Eric, Sergi – other board members and executives… thank you for the opportunity to present to you today.

 

To David, I recall just a short while ago you were hosting and chairing our first Rainbow PUSH Coalition Silicon Valley meeting; now you’re chairing the shareholder meeting for Google, a $400 Billion global icon, the second largest company in the world – what a long way you’ve come, soaring high but never forgetting your roots and where you came from.  Congratulations to you, David.

 

Oh I wish Dr. King and Cesar Chavez were hear today, witnessing this new technology revolution changing the world.   They may never had used a mobile phone, let alone witness the wonders of technology transforming our world today.

 

I speak to you today representing the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, about the need to open up a new era of growth and inclusion of African Americans, Latinos and other people of color in Silicon Valley’s technology industry.  Inclusion leads to growth, and when there is growth, everybody wins.  

 

Google is uniquely position to lead this new era.   We won’t know how good Silicon Valley can be until everyone can participate. 

 

All we ask is that everyone plays by one set of rules, and that there is an even playing field for all.   It’s the moral imperative.

 

We want mutually beneficial, two way trade.  We share consumer patterns together; pay taxes together; we serve in the military together to keep our nation secure.  We should share in America’s opportunity and growth together.

 

But today there is an imbalance; too much one way trade, too many left out, too many gaps.

 

We have money market talent and location.   You have technology, expertise and resources.   We can all win.  Let’s close the gaps.

 

African American and people of color comprise a huge and fast growing part of your customer base. In a short period of time, minorities will comprise the new majority population in California.

 

Technology is supposed to be about inclusion, but sadly, patterns of exclusion remains the order of the day.  Let me state some facts:

 

ZERO Blacks on Boards and in the C-suites

 

Tech powerhouses including Google, Apple, Google, and new media companies like Twitter and Facebook - have ZERO Blacks on their Board of Directors.

 

In the C-suites, Google, like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple, and far too many other Silicon Valley and technology firms have ZERO African Americans or Latinos on their senior executive leadership teams.  

 

The “we can’t find them” syndrome is a thing of the past.   Who is looking?  And where are “they” looking.  We can find them, if we look in the right places.  

 

Google is the KING OF SEARCH – search for them, in the right places, and you can find them.  Rainbow PUSH stands ready to SEARCH with you to find qualified candidates.

 

Participation in capital markets

 

The Rainbow PUSH report, “Minority Inclusion in Debt Capital Markets: A Ranking of Corporate Issuers.”  We applaud Google under David’s leadership, included several minority and women-owned firms in your initial IPO, and for utilizing minority firms in your recent debt offerings….but much more can be done.

 

But, when it comes to minority inclusion in employment, procurement, professional services, advertising and marketing, Silicon Valley has a long way to go.   There are too many gaps.

 

Again, if Google SEARCHES for qualified minority candidates, you can find them.

 

Think big.  Think bold.  If Google can build cars that drive themselves, it can certainly build a pipeline to bring African Americans, Latinos and people of color into this world changing technology industry.

 

I would say to you that, in today’s marketplace, that this model of exclusion, is unsustainable, and I would urge Google – and the rest of Silicon Valley and the tech industry - to transform your leadership teams, workforce and business partners to mirror the America it depends upon for talent and customers.

 

That’s why I appeal to Google and other high tech companies like Apple --- in the highest tradition of transparency, publicly release your EEO-1 report that identifies the race and gender characteristics of your workforce and and procurement practices, for the public to review.  There should be nothing to hide, and much to be proud of and promote.

 

At its best, Silicon Valley can be a tremendously positive change agent for the world; at its worst, it can hold on to old patterns that exclude people of color and women from opportunity and advancement and hold back progress.”

 

Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated that you can solve the most challenging complex problem in the world.   Inclusion is a complex problem – if we put our collective minds to it, we can solve it, too. There’s nothing we can’t do, together. 

 

Silicon Valley must evolve and expand to look like America, and mirror American values and principles – we must even the playing field and play by one set of rules.  Let’s close these gaps together.  Let all of share in America’s growth and opportunity.  Let’s win together.

 


 

Questions

 

1.    Will GOOGLE make a commitment to inclusion of Blacks and Latinos on your Board of Directors?   Specifically would you agree to place a by-law amendment similar to Apple that will require an explicit and active search for women and people of color for all Board openings?

 

2.    Will GOOGLE commit to a “Rooney-rule” like provision to mandate that women and people of color are included as part of any search for C-suite level positions?

 

3.    Will GOOGLE commit to the inclusion of Black and minority firms in debt offerings and future financial transactions.

 

 

4.    How can GOOGLE lead in building pipelines to expand the participation of women, Blacks, Latinos and people of color in technology?

 

In K-12 and higher education: meet with HBCUs’; set up programming and job internships; specialize recruitment of African American, Latino and other people of color.

 

A pipeline to provide resources, access to capital for emerging Tech Entrepreneurs, investors, professional services companies: advertising, insurance, accounting, legal – that seek to do business with the tech industry.

 

Thank you again for the opportunity to speak to you today.   Let’s make Silicon Valley look like America.  Inclusion leads to growth, and where there is growth, everybody wins.  Let’s win.