Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition will participate in the upcoming Facebook Annual Shareholder Meeting on Thursday May 22, at 11am, 223 Twin Dolphin Drive, Redwood City, CA.
Launching the new Rainbow PUSH Coalition digital inclusion initiative, Rev. Jackson wrote to lading technology companies earlier this year, saying, “Technology is supposed to be about inclusion, but sadly, patterns of exclusion remains the order of the day. When it comes to African Americans on Board – ZERO. C-suites, ZERO. Minority firms in IPO’s and financial transactions, advertising and professional services – ZERO. These ZEROES are contrary to the enlightened values exposed by the industry. Rainbow PUSH is seeking meetings with tech leaders to address these ZEROES head on.”
Last week, Rainbow PUSH scored a victory in this effort. During Google’s shareholder meeting, the company announced that it would voluntarily release its EEO-1 report, which include the race and gender characteristics of its workforce. Rev. Jackson will challenge Facebook and other tech companies to follow suit. It will also inquire if Facebook will consider a by-law change to mandate that qualified minorities and women be included in the search process and actively considered for future board seats.
Rainbow PUSH will also be conducting a Inclusion survey of technology companies, ranking them on their policies and practices relating to minority participation on their Boards, C-suites, supplier diversity, workforce composition, financial and professional services and other categories.
ZERO Blacks on Boards and in the C-suites
Tech powerhouses including Apple, Facebook, Facebook, and new media companies like Twitter and Facebook - have ZERO Blacks on their Board of Directors and C-suites. Facebook is electing eight (8) directors; and includes one woman (including Sheryl Sandberg) among its top six executive officers.
Black Enterprise magazine reported that 75 of the top 250 S&P 500 public companies do not have an African American on their Board of Directors (http://www.BlackEnterprise.com/tag/black-corporate-directors/).
Women and minorities have lost ground in America's corporate boardrooms between 2004 and 2010 (Alliance for Board Diversity, Aug 2013).
Facebook included several minority and women-owned firms in its initial IPO.
Tech companies target Black and minority consumers - 24 million are Internet users and 76% visit social media sites, according to Neilson. African-Americans have continued to outpace the total population with smartphone ownership. Facebook Search is the #1 search engine among African-Americans. Yet, of the $75 billion spent on television, magazine, Internet, and radio advertising, only $2.24 billion of it was spent with media focused on Black audiences. Few, if any, tech companies utilize African American advertising or marketing agencies.
Rev. Jackson added, “At its best, technology 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. Silicon Valley and the tech industry must transform itself to mirror the America it depends upon for talent and customers.”
Rainbow PUSH has held productive meetings with Facebook executives, and is seeking meetings with other tech leaders to identify strategies and solutions to expand the participation of African American and people of color/
Technology _ No Inclusion in Silicon Valley and the Technology Industry
Some facts and figures
The following information is derived from the Rainbow PUSH Survey (published February 2014) on minority participation in Capital Debt Markets between 2010-Sept 2013:
No technology companies in Tier 1
Tier 2 (IBM)
IBM: Used minority firms in 17 of its 20 debt offerings; 10 with just one; five with two; 5 with three or more.
Tier 3 (Microsoft)
Microsoft: In 100% of its 14 debt offerings, Microsoft included a minority firm; 3 with one firm; 8 with two firms; 3 with three of more.
Included one minority firm in 4 of its last six offering.
Tier 5 (Facebook; HP; Apple; Oracle)
HP: Did not include any minority firms in 20 of its debt offerings
Apple: Did not include any minority firms in 6 of its debt offerings; including it’s latest $17Billion debt offering)
Oracle: Did not include any minority firms in its nine debt offerings.
CEO’s, Corporate Boards and C-Suites
Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Facebook, Facebook, HP, Intel, and Twitter and far too many technology companies have ZERO Blacks on their Board of Directors, and in their Executive C-suites.
BET’s report indicates that there are 177 Blacks on the Board of Directors of America’s 250 largest public companies. There report that there are 75 (30%) of these corporations with no Black Directors. BLACK ENTERPRISE reports that corporate boards have become less diverse over the past several years. According to a report from the Alliance of Board Diversity, in 2010 white men held 74.5% of board seats on the 500 largest publicly traded companies, versus 5.7% for African American men and 1.9% for African American women. By 2012, the percentage of African American male directors declined to 5.5%, while the percentage of African American female directors remained flat. White men continue to hold roughly 95% of board chair positions and 86% of lead director slots.
The Glass Ceiling report observes, "The world at the top of the corporate hierarchy does not yet look anything like America. Two-thirds of our population, and 57 percent of the working population, are female, or minorities, or both." The commission projects that this year, people of color and women will make up 62 percent of the workforce.
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Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.
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