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January 05, 2017

Rev. Jesse Jackson to Uber:  Release your Diversity Data - Hire and Invest in Oakland, your new HQ


TO:                  Travis Kalanick, CEO, Uber

From:              Rev. Jesse Jackson, President and Founder, Rainbow PUSH Coalition

Re:                  Request for Data 2015-17 – Hire and Invest in Oakland

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition – through our PUSHTech2020 initiative -  in 2014 appealed to over 25 technology companies to demonstrate a new level of transparency and publicly release their EEO-1 reports and workforce diversity data.  The response was overwhelming. Whereas iconic Silicon Valley companies previously went to court to prevent the release of their data, company after company in 2014 began to unveil their diversity data.  A new day dawned in Silicon Valley and the tech industry where diversity and inclusion rose to the top of the industry’s agenda, becoming the civil rights imperative of this era. 


Silicon Valley and the technology industry is data driven, and it spoke loudly and clearly: Blacks and Latinos were just 1-3% of their tech and non-tech workforces. The data exposed the virtual exclusion of Blacks and Latinos from the boardrooms, c-suites and workforces of technology companies.  That, simply put, is inexcusable, unacceptable and inconsistent with the values espoused by tech companies.


Companies pledged to take concrete remedial action to right the wrongs of past practices and policies, to work to change the face of technology so that its leadership, workforce and business partnerships mirror the world in which we live.  That includes the people and communities that technology companies rely upon as the consumers that drive its success.


As we enter the new year, some 2 ½ years since the floodgates opened, we urge Uber to “lean in” and join the ranks of technology companies that are reporting your diversity and inclusion data.  


Specifically, we urge Uber to:


●          Publicly disclose your EEO-1 report and the racial and gender composition of your technical and non-technical workforce; 


●          Detail the total number of new hires you made between 2014-2016, and the number and percentage of these new hires from African American and Latino backgrounds.


●          Report the gender and racial composition of your Board of Directors and C-suite leadership team.


●          Describe new diversity and inclusion policies and practices, partnerships and initiatives that your company is implementing - for example, a Rooney Rule where qualified persons of color must be interviewed for open board seats, new hires, and all procurement/vendor/consultant contract opportunities.


●          Describe any additional policies you’ve adapted to increase diversity and inclusion in the utilization of your products, as well as your work with minority and diverse advertising, marketing, and professional services firms.


Additionally, Uber should take pro-active steps to involve diverse financial services firms and ensure their participation in your IPO syndicate if and when Uber takes the company public.  Rainbow PUSH works closely with this network of firms around the country and would, as we have with other tech and Fortune 500 companies over the years, convene these firms with appropriate finance officers of Uber.


Uber will soon be moving its headquarters to Oakland, the “rainbow” city of the West Coast, with a mixed African American, Latino, Asian and white population.  It is significant that Uber has chosen to base your headquarters here.  It’s even more important that Uber build a company that reflects the multi-racial, multi-cultural character of Oakland and the East Bay community, and its tradition of advocating for racial equality and economic justice.  


Uber can become a dynamic, positive force that ushers in a new era of equity and empowerment for the city and people of Oakland.  And Uber should take great care not to be disruptive and accelerate displacement and gentrification.  


That’s why I would urge Uber to formulate and adopt a “Hire and Invest in Oakland Program” - a program that commits to transforming your leadership, workforce, vendor base to mirror the Oakland/East Bay community; a program that commits to working with city officials and community leaders to make deep and sustainable investments in the Oakland Unified School District and other educational institutions, and in the dynamic community, housing, youth and tech-related organizations based in Oakland/East Bay.  


Rainbow PUSH and PUSHTech2020 will be advancing these and other themes during TeQ Equity Week and the PUSHTech2020 summit to be held in April of this year.  It is also our intention to publish a Diversity, Inclusion and Race Equality Report on the tech industry at that time.


Rainbow PUSH and I look forward to receiving Uber’s data, and more importantly, meeting with your top leadership at the earliest convenience on the issues outlined in this communication.


We hope to receive this information by February 15, 2017.  The information collected will provide the foundation for a PUSHTech2020 report to be issued later this year on race equality, diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.


Rainbow PUSH argues that companies must set specific, quantifiable diversity and inclusion goals, targets and timetables.  Without them, the ability to measure and be accountable for progress will be difficult.


Change must be real.  As the technology industry - the most innovative and revolutionary economic engine – drives the world into the future, women, people of color cannot be left behind.  I assert that Silicon Valley and the tech industry, at your best, can be a tremendously positive change agent for the world; at your worst, you can institutionalize old patterns of exclusion and de facto segregation.


Over 50 years ago the Voting Rights Act was signed into law.   We crossed that bridge.  Now we must cross another bridge leading to jobs, economic empowerment and justice. Inclusion leads to growth, and when there is growth, everybody wins.  Let’s cross the bridge.  My PUSHTech2020 Director, Butch Wing, will be following up with your team, and he can be reached at 510-701-8955, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).