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raceAhead: Congress Gets Traction on Diversity In Tech

January 26, 2018, 7:47 PM UTC

Your week in review, in haiku

 

1.

One new year, one new

normal: Eighteen school bells rung,

eleven shootings.

 

2.

Mueller scans his key

card, holds his breath. <Green light. Click.>

“Game on,” he whispers.

 

3.

Snowy Davos talks

climate, inequality…

America first.

 

4.

Cancel all of them:

Michigan State, USA

Gymnastics. Right now.

 

5.

#MeToo, you too, we

all, it’s true: Lift up, speak up,

give Justice her due.

 

***

Today, Fortune says goodbye to Data Editor Stacy Jones, intrepid raceAhead editor and founding member of our small but mighty inclusion team.

Stacy’s work touched so many aspects of Fortune’s coverage; her ability to explain how data can and should be used to understand the world has shaped the way we think about our work in the newsroom and helped prepare Fortune readers to build smarter, more equitable companies.

Stacy is also a big reason why raceAhead has continued to thrive, both in form and spirit.

While we are sad to see her go, we wish her luck in her next adventure in data, this time, at Goldman Sachs. (I know, right?) And many, many thanks to Data Reporter and sister in inclusion, Grace Donnelly, who will be editing raceAhead going forward.

 

Have a smart and equitable weekend! – EM

On Point

Under threat from Congress, an industry lobbying group promises greater diversity in techThe Internet Association, a trade group representing Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Uber, and others, is launching a new campaign to “improve diversity and inclusion in the tech industry,” and stave off the threat of regulation. Part of the campaign will involve a push to publish more employment-related data, according to a letter obtained by Recode. Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who participated in the Congressional call for greater diversity in tech, told Recode, “The Internet Association has responded in a very serious and proactive manner to our concerns that there was no one guarding the guardians when it comes to the internet and its potentially negative effects on racial and gender bias.”Recode

When will Puerto Ricans get their power back?
In the first of two reports, PBS looks at the current situation in Puerto Rico, and explores why it’s taking so long to restore power. Currently, some 450,000 of the 1.5 million electricity customers are without service completely and rolling blackouts occur regularly. Part of the problem is neglect: FEMA is only mandated to restore infrastructure to the condition it was in before a disaster, but the badly outdated condition of Puerto Rico’s grid means that many replacement materials had to be fabricated by hand. But the situation with now-bankrupt, about-to-be-privatized PREPA, the island’s only utility, isn’t helping either.
PBS

Widow of Kansas hate crime victim has a message for immigrants
After her husband, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was shot and killed by a man in a bar who questioned his legal status, Sunayana Dumala posed an anguished question in a grief-filled Facebook post. Do we belong here? Her answer now, over a year later, is yes. With the help of her employer, marketing company called Intouch Solutions, she is launching a social media campaign that will spotlight the aspirations and achievements of other immigrants. The support she received after her husband’s murder is the impetus, she says. “People have come forward to say, ‘You do belong here, you’re equally a part of us.’”
Huffington Post

NASA partners with Howard University to hire more black astronomers
In a five year deal, Howard University will join a host of schools serving as research partners with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science & Technology (CRESST). The program is, in part, mandated to increase the involvement of minority and women scientists in active research projects. Scientists from the partner schools will be studying high energy astrophysics, gravitational waves, space exploration and planets in the solar system.  The experience could make a meaningful difference in the talent pipeline, currently, there are only ten black tenured astronomy professors in the U.S.
Black Engineer

Google in Sub-Saharan Africa has a new CMO
His name is Mzamo Masito, and he joins the company from previous stints at Vodacom, Nike and Unilever. He’ll be working out of the company’s Johannesburg office, and will be responsible for leading the SSA team on enhancing local products and helping people capitalize on increased internet availability. He knows the marketplace well. Here he is talking about his work as Nike’s brand director in South Africa during the World Cup, and how the company endeavored to use the “power of football” to bring about social change.
Mark Lives

The Woke Leader

One man, in his time, plays many parts
Everything is temporary, Shakespeare reminds us, in this beautiful soliloquy performed by British actor and playwright Zawe Ashton. The series, created by The Guardian to celebrate Bill Shakespeare’s 400th birthday in 2016, asks beloved performers to perform their best dramatic monologs. In a non-traditional casting, Ashton performs Jacques’s infamous speech on the seven ages of man from Act II, Scene 7 of As You Like It. (Best of luck on your next stage, Stacy Jones.)
YouTube

A nine-year-old calls out his teacher for her lesson about Christopher Columbus
Elementary student King Johnson was not having any propaganda about Columbus Day, as this journal entry making the rounds online makes clear. “Today was not a good learning day,” he begins, following up with the facts. “Because Columbus didn’t find our country, the Indians did.” Some choice feedback follows. The always excellent Damon Young breaks down the note line-by-line, decoding the blackest parts, but King ultimately reclaims his time in no uncertain terms. “I want you to not teach me lies,” he wrote.
Very Smart Brothas

Decades of queer culture on display
Meet Lola Flash, the 59-year-old photographer/activist who has spent decades capturing queer culture and LGBTQ icons, starting as an AIDS activist in the 1980s. She has a retrospective opening in NYC this week, but click through to her own website to see the full breadth of her work. The black, queer artist hopes that her work transcends stereotypes, and invites people to think more deeply about race, gender and sexual norms. Given the quality of her work, that she is not a household name is an indictment of an art world who failed to give her a berth. “I am supposed to invite the audience to see things the way I do,” she says.
Lola Flash

Quote

You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn - by practice and careful contemplations - the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it.
Toni Morrison