By The Associated Press
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Rev. Jesse Jackson plans to bring diversity advocates to eBay and Google shareholder meetings this week in an ongoing push to improve Silicon Valley’s poor record of including African Americans and Latinos in hiring, board appointments and startup funding.
Jackson says he plans to bring delegations Tuesday morning to eBay’s headquarters in San Jose and Wednesday afternoon to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View where he wants to urge company leaders to increase minority inclusion in boardrooms, in financial transactions, and as contractors for professional and advertising services.
Earlier this year Jackson and his nonprofit Rainbow Push Coalition launched what they call the “new digital inclusion initiative” with highly publicized letters to Apple, Facebook, Google and others pressing for minority inclusion. They took their message to Hewlett Packard’s March shareholder meeting.
During that meeting, the civil rights activist noted that HP didn’t have any African Americans on its board and said Stanford University and other colleges and universities need to create more opportunities for minorities.
It’s widely recognized that high tech lacks diversity: about one in 14 tech workers is black or Latino, both in the Silicon Valley and nationally.
“Technology is supposed to be about inclusion, but sadly, patterns of exclusion remains the order of the day,” Jackson wrote in a statement Monday.
In the past, Jackson’s critics have accused him of profiting from similar protest actions. These critics have said that after Jackson targeted companies over diversity issues, some ended up donating large sums to Jackson’s organizations, or the targeted companies gave contracts to minority-owned firms that paid Jackson for referrals.