Rainbow Push Google Partnership

Rainbow Push Google Partnership

Rainbow PUSH Coalition partnered with Google to present a forum at Google headquarters in Los Angeles in the last week of June.
The forum is part of an ongoing program to open up pathways into the tech industry, as well as increase diversity in Silicon Valley.

Reverend Jesse Jackson, founding president of Rainbow PUSH, and Google executives discussed the efforts of religious and social development organizations led by Jackson, along with a panel of tech executives who explored the best ways to increase diversity and innovation in technology.

“We intend to have, in a thousand churches, tech centers so that children can do apps, code, and learn financial literacy and stock market gain,” Jackson said.

“Google has something the community needs: advanced technology. The community has something Google needs: market, money, and tele-location. Together we can make a great impact,” he added.

Chris Genteel, head of diversity markets, and supplier diversity for Google noted that “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it accessible. With Rainbow PUSH, our mission is to make that information accessible to all,” Genteel said.

Glenda Gill, executive director of Rainbow PUSH, said the goal is to bring unheard voices front and center.

‘Leveraging technology and digital literacy’

Other participants included Malik Ducard, global head of family and learning, YouTube, and Navarrow Wright, founder of The Close the Divide Project.

Close the Divide builds awareness about opportunities available in education, job creation, entrepreneurship and quality of life by leveraging technology, and digital literacy.

“We can’t help drive and shape if we are not in the playing field,” Wright said. “Technology is a tool, like a screwdriver. You can build something from Ikea or stab someone in the thigh. It’s up to you.”

Wright moderated the panel examining the opportunities and challenges minorities face in technology.

Each panelist gave insight into how the changing nature of technology and the spread of information will allow people of any color to gain a foothold in the industry and monetize their efforts.

Jamaal Finkley, president, Black Tree TV, said over the past six years he made a million dollars on YouTube but he urged, “We have to be able to make our own technology companies and not be scared to do it,” Finkley said. “Don’t believe the success stories that didn’t include the failures.”

‘Little league tech and little league business programs’

Pierre Johnson, executive director of the Peggy Beatrice Foundation, saw promise in starting early.

“Just like schools have little league sports, we need to have little league tech programs and little league business programs, and bring the tech and business world to the kids, which will begin to change the culture,” Johnson recommended.

Peggy Beatrice Foundation is focused on children and back to school programs to restore the healthy family structure.

Kelly Redmond, executive director, Impact Media, and Entertainment Coalition, also stressed outreach and the role of the family. “What we watch ultimately becomes our character, which is why the community outreach portion is critical,” Redmond said.

“It is important for companies like Google to open their doors for us, but it is equally important for us to show up,” observed Sheila Marmon, founder and CEO, Mirror Digital, a media and advertising company.

“Media outlets controlled by people of color have not embraced digital media, so upcoming generations need to be comfortable with digital media and understand how to monetize it,” Marmon said.

‘Tech 2020’

An audience full of emerging entertainment and technology executives, event panelists and speakers provided insight on diversifying the technology field, including taking advantage of expanding resources and monetizing efforts at every opportunity.

Following the panel, Wright sat down for a chat with Grammy-winning gospel singer/songwriter Erica Campbell to discuss launching and growing her YouTube channel and content creation.

The event culminated with a discussion between Ducard and Jackson about the goals of the Push Tech 2020 initiative and solutions that support diversity in technology and beyond.

“We have to expand the pool of technologists to fill the millions of jobs that are expected to be unfilled by 2020,” Genteel said. “The talent exists. We need to help prepare that long-term pipeline.”

In May, Google’s announced it would spend $150 million on its diversity initiatives in 2015, up from $115 million in 2014.