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July 19, 2014

Rev. Jesse Jackson petitions Twitter for diversity data - Tech Times

The last few weeks have been filled with criticism regarding the lack of minorities working at tech companies, mainly at Google, Facebook and Twitter. Now, Rev. Jesse Jackson has launched a petition demanding that Twitter reveal its employment diversity reports publicly.

Jackson wants this information available to show the world what percentage of the company’s workforce is made up of minorities. This has been a sensitive issue recently for many, especially after it was revealed that 70 percent of Google’s workers are males, and out of that number, more than 60 percent are white.

Facebook has similar numbers, with 57 percent white workers and 69 percent males.

“Twitter must commit to transparency and making a public commitment to improve the recruitment and retention of Black employees is a critical first step,” Jackson wrote in a letter on the petition page. “But disclosure isn’t enough. That’s why we’re also calling on Twitter to work with Rainbow PUSH, ColorOfChange and our allies to host a forum to discuss the lack of racial diversity in Silicon Valley and potential solutions.”

“Black folks on Twitter are a powerful group, using the platform not only to share news anddiscuss pop culture, but to create real change in society,” he continued. “Black Twitter brought the Trayvon Martin case to public attention when almost no one was talking about it. It forced the cancellation of a book deal for a juror in the George Zimmerman trial. And using satire, Black Twitter caused the cancellation of celebrity chef Paula Deen’s endorsement deals after she admitted to using the N-word.”

In the letter, Jackson urged Twitter to “live up to its platform’s transparency” and reveal its employment diversity information to the public. Up until now, the tech industry has managed to steer clear of major controversies surrounding its employment diversity, but as more of the information gets released, more people are beginning to get a clear picture of the industry’s workforce.

Now that the data is out there, some are demanding answers for why one of the world’s largest fields seems to have an issue with a compiling a diverse workforce.

In his letter, Jackson states, “Blacks comprise just 1-2% and Latinos 3-4% of the workforce” in Silicon Valley. Whether that continues to be the trend in the future remains to be seen.