The Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights icon and champion of human rights for all, has remained committed in his fight to end discrimination against Black people in the affluent tech stronghold known as Silicon Valley. Recently, the Silicon Valley tech summit stretched from the Hewlett-Packard headquarters in Palo Alto to downtown San Francisco at the Yelp headquarters. Jackson took part, leading his PUSH organization in a fight for more equity and access for African Americans in the financially rich and stable industry.
At a special session, Jackson led participants in prayer, recognizing that there had been a major loss to the community by way of this disparity in the community.
Jackson welcomed power brokers and executives from Apple to the session. They were there to commit $40 million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund foundation. The funds, presented to the foundation’s president, Johnny Taylor, are to be used to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The president of Intel, who was also at the session, spoke of his team’s commitment to changing the diversity issue at Intel. He said it is the right thing to do.
Jackson is a national treasure and must be recognized for being just that. While many are aware of his shortcomings in politics and his personal life, we also recognize his position and commitment as an advocate for change. Indeed, his life’s work is focused on fighting for the rights of marginalized people, particularly African Americans and Latinos. His work in politics, his leadership in noted runs for president, created the pathway for President Barack Obama to lead the nation.
Over the couse of four decades, Jackson has continued to push forward in his mission. And his latest mission, working to end the discrimination that is rampant throughout financial pipelines from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, is most necessary and in need of support.
Simply put, as Jackson and others purport, the lack in advancement of people of color in these institutions is disrespectful and embarrassing, especially given the level at which African Americans participate and buy into said institutions by using products like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Still, these firms often employ African Americans at less that 5 percent and 1 percent in some cases.
Jackson recognizes that both positioning African Americans at these companies, and even seeking backers for minority-led entrepreneurial ventures are key factors that will ensure financial prosperity within the Black community in the future. It is time for all of us to support his efforts and move forward with his plans for leveling the financial playing field for all. Peace.