Seattle Native Starts Tracking Tech Companies’ Racial Justice Support

The new database tracking which tech companies are taking a stance on racial justice from diversity and tech publication The Plug already includes information on some 70 companies.

Written by Gordon Gottsegen
Published on Jun. 01, 2020
Seattle Native Starts Tracking Tech Companies’ Racial Justice Support
black lives matter tech companies
Demonstrators at a George Floyd rally in Seattle on Saturday. | Photo: Shutterstock

The death of George Floyd has led to large-scale protests against police violence across the United States, and in some parts of the world. Many, expressing concern about this country’s history of racial inequality, are looking to their employers — and the leaders of the products and services they use — for statements of support. As more companies and executives across the tech industry speak out, it’s important to keep track of who has said what so they can be held accountable in the future.

That’s why Seattle native Sherrell Dorsey began compiling a database of tech companies and CEOs who have recently made public statements about racial injustice, George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Dorsey is the publisher and founder of tech and diversity publication The Plug, as well as the founder of BLKTECH Interactive, a North Carolina-based hub for black tech talent and entrepreneurship.

“Historically, tech companies have not spoken up about racial justice issues. As I started to see some CEOs take a stand, like Box and Twitter, I wanted to take a look at who — and who wasn’t — making a statement,” Dorsey told Built In. “More important was measuring these statements against these tech companies public commitment to ‘diversity’ but still showing low representation of Black people in their workforces.”

Dorsey’s tool launched on Saturday and is quickly growing. It already includes statements from over 70 tech companies throughout the country, including Salesforce, Slack, Twilio and HubSpot, that have spoken out so far.

As Dorsey points out, her database isn’t limited to CEO statements. It also includes diversity reports, the company’s percentage of black employees and whether they’ve donated to racial justice organizations.

“I wanted to provide transparency and accountability between what companies were saying and what they were actually practicing when it come to hiring Black workers on their teams,” Dorsey explained.

Many Seattle tech companies and leaders have already made public statements in support of racial justice. Microsoft has put out a statement in support of the black community, which was echoed Monday by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. In a series of Sunday evening tweets, Melinda Gates wrote “[w]e cannot allow systemic racism to go unnamed or unchallenged. Above all, we cannot turn away.” Amazon also pledged its support on its own social media accounts.

Chances are that more tech companies and leaders will put out statements over the next couple of days and this list will make it easier to keep track of those who do. It’ll also lend transparency to these companies’ diversity and inclusion policies, and whether they practice what they preach in the future.

Additions to the database can be suggested by emailing [email protected].

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