Tech Diversity Leaders in ‘Utter Sadness’ Following Trump Election, Vow to Continue Push for Inclusiveness

Tech Diversity Leaders in ‘Utter Sadness’ Following Trump Election, Vow to Continue Push for Inclusiveness

Leaders of the tech industry’s diversity movement are now going through a flood of emotions ranging from anger and terror to grief and disappointment following a night in which they thought they’d see America pick its first female president but instead saw it elect Donald Trump, a man whose campaign was studded with racist, sexist and xenophobic remarks.

“I feel betrayed by my country. I feel like I’ve just been told that I have no place here,” said Leslie Miley, a leader of the tech diversity movement and the director of engineering at Slack. “I feel like my rights and my values have essentially been greatly diminished.”

For many in the tech industry, the past couple of years have been a fight to make Silicon Valley a more inclusive and welcoming place to work for women, people of color and those in the LGBT community. It’s a push that has made strides at companies across the Bay Area, such as Apple, Google, Facebook and many others. There have been board-level appointments of women and minorities, and there have been hirings for heads of diversity at numerous billion-dollar startups. And albeit quite slowly, these companies have also begun hiring women and minorities at greater numbers.

Now, all of that work has been thrown into flux with the election of Trump to be the U.S.’s 45th president. Throughout his campaign, Trump’s policies have consisted of promises to shut down immigration channels, deport undocumented individuals, create a database of American Muslims, institute stop-and-frisk measures and appoint Supreme Court justices who could overturn same-sex marriage and abortion rulings.

Within the tech diversity community, these policies are the antithesis of what they’ve been fighting for.

“To see how the American people can vote for someone with a recent and proven track of bigotry, sexism and racism as president just proves that we have a long way to go to create an inclusive America,” said Wayne Sutton, co-founder of the Tech Inclusion diversity conference. “We all need to hope for the best but plan for the worst.”

Further escalating the gravity of Tuesday’s election results are the Republican victories throughout the 50 states that ensure the conservative party will maintain its majorities in both Congress and the Senate. Though Trump and his peers do not align on every policy, Republican control of all parts of the federal government is an advantage for the president-elect.

“We are faced with the very real possibility that 50 years of human rights legislation will get rolled back,” Miley said.

Already, at least one person who is involved in the tech diversity movement said they will be leaving the country as a direct result of Tuesday night’s election. Another said he will wait and see how a Trump presidency begins before making such a drastic decision. Others, meanwhile, said they have no plans to depart from the U.S.


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