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Two Years After George Floyd, The Shortcomings of Corporate America's 50 Billion Dollar Promise. 

 

 * Source: Fortune.com May, 2021

State of The Pledge

Tech Ecosystem

While technology and innovation have become the fastest growing industry globally,Black professionals remain disproportionally represented within the space

Financial

Minimal changes have occurred among the commitments made by tech corporations over the past two years due to a lack of tracking and accountability.

Recruitment

Looking beyond the numbers and surface pledges, tech companies need to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts among Blacks to institute structural changes

*  Source: Census Data 2000-2020

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Sherrell Dorsey 
Founder/CEO, The Plug
Letter from The Plug’s CEO

We cannot manage what we do not measure.

 

Dear reader, I’ll be brutally honest with you. In 2020, the 36 hours following the murder of George Floyd was the catalyst for one of the toughest data projects I’d ever imagine our team working on. In the wake of this tragedy, we scraped through Twitter and a plethora of companies' diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) reports. We were propelled to compile the series of messages and statements big tech and corporations were making in support of social justice. Thereby, spotlighting the very harsh realities of police brutality on Black men and the Black community at large.

 

Since then, our database and data visualization went viral across mass media and the tech ecosystem. Subsequently, our team has been tasked with providing an annual update on what happened after the hysteria.

 

Are companies making good on their commitments? Are we seeing a shift in the professional and managerial culture of these companies? Are more director-level positions, board roles, and even funding going to more Black people and people of color? These are the questions from Black professionals across the country, some hopeful and some pessimistic, about whether things are changing for the better or if the same constructs that define inequality remain.

Thus far, what we do understand about the data is that the journey to progress is a continuum.. And so is measuring accountability and providing transparent resources and tools to help Black tech ecosystems and big businesses understand where we stand. This goes beyond  a press release and donations.

 

As it stands, what I do know for sure is I am beyond honored to continue this work of digging through the numbers, pressing stakeholders for direct answers, and publishing our findings year after year. More importantly, I am proud of the work of Tayler James, our Director of Research, who jumped into this project at the onset. Soon after her hiring in January of this year, we teamed up with Dennis Schultz at the Blacks In Technology, a long-time partner and supporter, to continue this important conversation.

 

I now ask you to use these numbers and insights as a baseline to keep moving us forward. We are counting on readers and influencers like you to keep us on track.

 

In the work,

Sherrell Dorsey

Founder/CEO, The Plug

Letter from The Plug’s Director of Research
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Tayler J. James
Director of Research, The Plug

Throughout my career, I’ve navigated in workspaces where I didn’t always feel like I belonged. Like many other Black professionals, I felt the need to overcompensate in certain areas to prove my worth. To validate my HBCU degree. To break the generational stereotypes instilled in the minds of my colleagues. To continuously self-advocate for promotions and/or raises that I rightfully deserved, but was passed over for. In 2020, I felt a shift. Unfortunately, it took the virtual death of a Black man in broad daylight to begin opening the eyes of the rest of America.

 

My goal in writing this inaugural report is to ensure Black professionals are seen, heard, and valued. It is important to look beyond the numbers and evaluate  the systematic measures  tech organizations are putting in place to ensure that the Black population is well represented and placed in positions of influence. It needs to be embedded as a core factor in the operational strategies of any business. That is my call to action for these companies. The face of our country is changing. Our world is shifting. I believe these companies must acknowledge and accept cultural differences by establishing space for diverse thinking. In addition, it is critical to ensure that all sectors within these organizations are fully represented, including leadership. Stand by your word. This is only the beginning.


 

Always forward,

Tayler J. James

Director of Research, The Plug

Letter from Black in Technology Foundation’s Executive Director
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Executive Director, Blacks In Technology Foundation

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in the spring of 2020, the outpouring of concern for social justice in the African American community was far-reaching. Fueled by employees who demanded that their companies take a stance and help facilitate change, many organizations were compelled to confront not only the systemic injustices of the Black community since the reconstruction era, but also to look inward at their own culture. More specifically, they were forced to look closely at the pay inequity for Black workers, the hiring and retention practices they employed, and the executive leadership and board governance as it related to racial equity.  

 

As a 25-year veteran of the IT industry, I was encouraged and pleasantly surprised to see statements from CEOs of major technology companies regarding their intent to help right the perceived wrongs of social and economic injustice. My initial exuberance for these proclaimed initiatives soon turned to concern. I began to question how funds would be allocated, how progress would be measured, and how organizations would be held accountable if they renege on their promises.  

 

This report was commissioned to provide context to the promises made and add to the historical record an accounting of the actions taken since. The intent is to spotlight organizations that have made good on their commitments and provide visibility to the public for those who have not. The Blacks In Technology community has a vested interest in intangible, systemic change in the tech sector. We hope the findings in this report advance the mission of greater inclusivity in our industry.

 

Closing,

Dennis Schultz

Executive Director, Blacks In Technology Foundation

Current State of Tech Companies

* Source: The Plug, May 2022

 

2020 Tech Company Statements 

The season of protests that ensued George Floyd’s tragic death prompted executives and organizations from hundreds of tech and innovation corporations to pledge over 500 commitments towards creating a more equitable society, including but not limited to financial investments to black innovators, donations to Black organizations, diversifying their supplier networks and implementing new Inclusion & Diversity hiring and promotion processes.

 

Black Women Leading Tech 

Over the past two years, light has been shed on the lack of Black women in leadership positions and specific tech areas but sparked ideation in ways to be more inclusive. Black women have led the charge in the transformation of inclusion within the industry.

 
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State of The Pledge: Future Of Work For Blacks In Tech And Innovation