Remarks before Google Shareholder Meeting
JUNE 3, 2015
Larry, David, Eric, Sergi – thank you for the opportunity to present to you today.
I spoke to you last year about the need to open up a new era of inclusion for African Americans, Latinos and other people of color in Silicon Valley’s technology industry.
What a difference a year makes: we’ve disrupted the tech space and placed racial diversity and inclusion at the forefront of the industry’s agenda.
We’ve challenged companies to discard the old model of exclusion. It’s unsustainable, and I will continue to push Google – and the rest of Silicon Valley and the tech industry – to transform your leadership teams, supplier base, workforce and business partners to look like America.
We’ve argued the business case that Black and Latino communities – and women – represent underserved markets, underutilized talent and untapped capital.
Google and the tech industry will do well to embrace, engage and empower this base of creativity and innovation. You cannot afford not to.
I’ve asked leaders across the valley, “Who will disrupt the tech industry with a vision, commitment and courage to help usher in a new era of diversity and inclusion?
You are unfolding a progressive diversity strategy, including $150M in spend for 2015. Your program to embed engineers at Howard, Hampton and other HBCU’s has the potential to bear fruit and connect our HBCU’s and Black students to Google and the tech industry in ways not seen before.
But don’t stop there: will Google help build tech labs to train our youth in coding, and building apps, and teaching STEM to 1000 churches and community centers around the country – from Baltimore to Ferguson to Oakland – Use your power, use technology to transform communities and provide an alternative to violence. Black lives matter to all of us.
Google is stepping up. Intel and their $300M diversity initiative is stepping up. Apple is stepping up. You are all uniquely position to lead this new era.
But despite your best efforts, the representation of African Americans and Latinos remain basically static. Too many technology companies have zero, or too few, women or people of color in the boardrooms and c-suites and in the workforce. And so today, we are issuing an open call for companies to again release their EEO-1’s and diversity data – as you have – by September 1, and to provide a one-year “report card” on the progress they’ve made on diversity and inclusion.
It’s time to think big. Think bold. Google is creating driverless cars; youare beaming internet connectivity to the earth from drones in the sky.
If you put your mind to it you can certainly build a pipeline to engage African Americans, Latinos and people of color to change the face of technology.
Silicon Valley can be a tremendously positive change agent for the world.
You’ve have demonstrated that you can solve the most challenging complex problems 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.
May I pose a few Questions?
1. I commend Google for fulfilling the commitment you made last year, and for releasing your EEO-1 Report and diversity data for the second straight year. You are putting new initiatives and programs into place, but you’ve not yet moved the needle on representation. What are the challenges you face? What are your goals and expectations for the coming year?
2. Will GOOGLE make a commitment to inclusion of Blacks and Latinos on your Board of Directors? Specifically would you agree to consider a governance by-law amendment that will require an explicit and active search for women and people of color for all Board openings?
3. Google reportedly has over $35 Billion parked overseas. Would you consider repatriating some of this offshore money back to America to fund an Innovation Investment Development Bank? And in return, receive tax credits or a reduced tax rate on foreign profits?
4. Will Google consider making a major investment to fund early stage Black and Latino led tech start ups? Who can I speak to?
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.