Press Releases

May 25, 2014

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.  Remarks before Facebook Shareholder Meeting

 Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. – Rainbow PUSH Coalition

Remarks before Facebook Shareholder Meeting

May 22, 2014-Redwood City, CA

 

Mark, Sheryl, David,  – other board members and executives… thank you for the opportunity to present to you today.

 

(Prayer for the women of Nigeria and their safe return to their homes and families.  We are one world, interconnected and what affects one of us, affects all of us.)

 

Oh I wish Dr. King and Cesar Chavez were hear today. They may never had used a mobile phone, let alone witness the wonders of Facebook and other technology transforming our world today.

 

I speak to you today representing the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, about the need to open up a new era of growth and inclusion of African Americans, Latinos and other people of color in Silicon Valley’s technology industry.  Inclusion leads to growth, and when there is growth, everybody wins.  

 

Facebook is uniquely position to lead this new era.   We won’t know how good Silicon Valley can be until everyone can participate. 

 

All we ask is that everyone plays by one set of rules, and that there is an even playing field for all.   It’s the moral imperative.

We want mutually beneficial, two way trade.  We share consumer patterns together; pay taxes together; we serve in the military together to keep our nation secure.  We should share in America’s opportunity and growth together.But today there is an imbalance; too much one way trade, too many left out, too many gaps. We have money market talent and location.   You have technology, expertise and resources.   We can all win.  Let’s close the gaps.

African American and people of color comprise a huge and fast growing part of your customer base. In a short period of time, minorities will comprise the new majority population in California.

Technology is supposed to be about inclusion, but sadly, patterns of exclusion remains the order of the day.  Let me state some facts:

ZERO Blacks on Boards and in the C-suites

Tech powerhouses including Facebook, Apple, and Google, and new media companies like Twitter - have ZERO Blacks on their Board of Directors.

 In the C-suites, Facebook, like Facebook, Twitter, Facebook, Apple, and far too many other Silicon Valley and technology firms have ZERO African Americans or Latinos on their senior executive leadership teams.  

Just as women leaders are now making some headway – like Sheryl and Marissa Mayer at Yahoo – companies like Facebook must build a pipeline wherein African Americans and people of color to lean in and move up, too.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.  Facebook and other tech firms can find us, when it comes to consumers of technology.  You can find us – we are CEO’s and CFO’s and engineers and lawyers and ad agencies and investment bankers, too.  Rainbow PUSH stands ready to SEARCH with you to find qualified candidates.

Participation in capital markets

The Rainbow PUSH report, “Minority Inclusion in Debt Capital Markets: A Ranking of Corporate Issuers.”  We applaud Facebook which under David Ebersman’s leadership, included several minority and women-owned firms in your initial IPO.   We hope that sets a trend for inclusion of minority firms in future debt and financial transactions.….but much more can be done.

But, when it comes to minority inclusion in employment, procurement, professional services, advertising and marketing, Silicon Valley has a long way to go.   There are too many gaps.

Last week, as I presented at Google’s shareholder meeting, they announced that they would voluntarily and publicly release their Equal Employment Opportunity workforce report which contains the data on their race and gender make up of their workforce  I appeal to Facebook and other tech companies to join in and release the data on your workforce to the public.  But not just about your workforce – your inclusion and diversity data on your procurement and supplier diversity; on whether or not you utilize minority ad agencies or lawyers or accountants or government affairs consultants… That would be in the highest tradition of transparency and corporate responsibility and integrity.  There should be nothing to hide, and much to be proud of and promote. There is no legitimate justification for concealing and hiding this information. 

Inclusion is the key to growth, and where there is growth everybody wins.   We want to grow as you grow. Think big.  Think bold. 

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

Questions for FACEBOOK

 

  1. Will FACEBOOK voluntarily and publicly release your EEO-1 Report and/or data on the race and gender make up of your workforce?

 

  1. Will FACEBOOK make a commitment to inclusion of Blacks and Latinos on your Board of Directors?   Specifically would you agree to place a by-law amendment similar to Apple that will require an explicit and active search for women and people of color for all Board openings?

 

2.        Will FACEBOOK commit to a by-law provision to mandate that women and people of color are included as part of any search for C-suite level positions?

 

3.        Will FACEBOOK commit to the inclusion of Black and minority firms in debt offerings and future financial transactions.

 

4.        How can FACEBOOK lead in building pipelines to expand the participation of women, Blacks, Latinos and people of color in technology?

 

In K-12 and higher education: meet with HBCUs’; set up programming and job internships; specialize recruitment of African American, Latino and other people of color.

 

How can FACEBOOK build out A pipeline to provide resources, access to capital for emerging Tech Entrepreneurs, investors, professional services companies: advertising, insurance, accounting, legal – that seek to do business with the tech industry.

 

Thank you again for the opportunity to speak to you today.   Let’s make Silicon Valley look like America.  Inclusion leads to growth, and where there is growth, everybody wins.  Let’s win.