Press Releases

July 23, 2014

Twitter relents and releases workforce diversity data: Rev Jackson comments

Reverend Jesse L.  Jackson, Sr. And Rainbow PUSH Coalition Comments -

Twitter Release Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Data July 23, 2014

 

"Creative, social media mass action matters.  Our campaign with Color of Change has resulted in Twitter's decision to release their data.   Launching an online petition drive, and using social media and Twitter to challenge Twitter’s secrecy, the Rainbow PUSH/Color of Change campaign delivered 25,000 petitions in 5 days.

 

Today, Twitter ended its resistance and refusal to release their data, and posted their EEO-1 workforce data on their website. 

 

Twitter’s dismal workforce data mirrors Silicon Valley. 

 

Their numbers reflect the virtual exclusion of Blacks (2%) and Latinos (4%); women lag far behind as well, just 30% of Twitter’s employee base.   There are ZERO Blacks or Latinos on Twitter’s Board of Directors or in their C-suite leadership.   Under pressure when it filed its IPO, Twitter added a woman to their Board.

 

While slow to release these inexcusable numbers, Twitter has taken a step in the right direction.   We commend their move toward transparency and public accountability. 

Now Twitter must fulfill the second part of the petition demand: meet with RainbowPUSH, Color of Change, and our allies in the SF Bay Area community to engage in a positive dialogue about inclusion, diversity and corporate responsibility.   

African Americans and Latinos – and women - represent money, market, talent and location.  Technology companies have expertise, resources and innovation in their DNA. When we combine the two, we can all win.  Our interest is not in protest, but in partnership.  Blacks and Latinos “over-index” on using Twitter - - - let's be partners at all levels.  Let’s close the gaps and imbalances.

 

African Americans “over-index” as Twitter (and social media) users.   Twitter’s leadership and marketing team is well aware of this fact.

(http://rainbowpush.org/news/single/pew_study_blacks_over-index_on_twitter_-_26_of_black_internet_users_surveye)

African Americans, Latinos and people of color – women, too - should not be relegated to “user/consumer” status – they must be inclusion on the board of directors and c-suite leaders, they must be consumers and employees, they must not only tweet but be suppliers, vendors and providers of professional services.   We call that Equanomics – using an economic lens to measure race equality.

There is nothing that they cannot do.  There is no talent deficit, there's an opportunity deficit.  

 

The time for change is upon us.

RainbowPUSH is lifting the veil of secrecy from Silicon Valley and tech companies.

(http://rainbowpush.org/news/single/rev._jackson_and_rainbow_challenge_push_for_digital_inclusion_in_silicon_va

 

Just a few years ago, the San Jose Mercury News filed Freedom of Information requests to secure workforce data - six leading Silicon Valley companies – including Google, Apple, Cisco, HP,   - went to court and, astonishingly, they won the right to keep their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO-1 report) workforce data hidden from the public!

 

The times have changed, as Rev. Jackson and Rainbow PUSH have re-issued the inclusion and diversity challenge to Silicon Valley and the tech industry, beginning with his appearance and remarks before the HP shareholder meeting in March. 

 

Rev. Jackson then appeared and spoke directly to board members and shareholders, appealing to Google, eBay and Facebook to release their EEO-1 reports on the race and gender make up of their workforces.  He said to them, Technology is supposed to be about inclusion, but sadly, patterns of exclusion remains the order of the day…. in today’s marketplace, that this model of exclusion, is unsustainable. 

 

“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…” 

 

In a direct dialogue with David Drummond and leaders of Google at their meeting in May (view video of the shareholder meeting at http://rainbowpush.org/news/single/Rev_Jesse_Jackson_Applauds_Googles_Release_of_EEO1_Data), Google responded directly by saying their were wrong not to release their data to the public, and committed to doing so.

 

Rainbow PUSH commended Google for releasing their data, and then challenged through a Open Letter and direct communications to Yahoo, LinkedIn, Pandora, eBay, Apple, Salesforce, Twitter, Yelp - 20 companies in total – to follow this “transparency movement, to stop hiding, and to release their EEO-1 and workforce data revealing the racial and gender make up of their companies.

 

(see Open Letter at

 http://rainbowpush.org/news/single/open_letter_to_silicon_valley_-_be_transparent_release_your_eeo1_data)

 

Within weeks, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Facebook, Salesforce responded positively and posted their workforce diversity/inclusion data on their websites. 

 

eBay, Pandora and Apple indicated to Rainbow PUSH and the media that they, too, would join the “transparency movement” and release their data in the near future.

 

To their credit, Intel, HP and Cisco have long posted their EEO-1 workforce data on their websites.

 

While referencing many initiatives and laudable programs on their corporate website, it is clear that the Google, Yahoo, Twitter and other tech companies have a tough road ahead and much more work must be done.   All have admitted as much and pledged to do better. 

 

RainbowPUSH submits that, if tech companies are serious about moving the needle about African American and Latino participation in their companies, they must set goals, targets and timetables regarding diversity and inclusion on their Boards, their c-suite leadership and their general employee base.   They must serious partner with African Americans, Latinos and people of color in "mutually beneficial, reciprocal, fair trade."  

 

Without setting concrete, measurable goals, targets and timetables – and drilling down to implement, monitor and hold their internal organizations accountable – it will be hard, perhaps impossible, to make any progress.   Treat inclusion and diversity just as you would any serious, business line of a company, and Measure it.

 

Twitter and the tech industry must lean in and not leave anyone out.  

In this new era of transparency and change, RainbowPUSH issues this call to action to the community and tech industry: 

 

Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated that you can solve the most challenging complex problems 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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