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Startups Are The Way To Diversity In Tech

Here’s your week in review, in haiku.

 

1.

WarHUHyeah…What

is it good for? Absolutely

Mueller. Good Gawd, y’all

 

2.

This is just to say

I have read your snitty note

‘twas in my inbox

 

3.

A former slave first

ran for the roses. He won!

Now lies forgotten.

 

4.

Sending aroha

to the prime minister; sweet

lifetime of hongi

 

5.

The walking carpet

and gentlest of giants:

Punching it on home

 

Have a peacefully stellar weekend.

On Point

How start-ups will create diversity in techThis must-read piece from USA Today’s Jessica Guynn makes the case that if true diversity in Silicon Valley is ever to become a reality, we’ll need to give up on the idea that large caps and unicorns will ever get us there. She cites Project Include founder Ellen Pao, who says that big companies are stuck because they’ve “embedded all of these biases into all of their operations.” Project Include has been working with startups instead, having difficult conversations with CEOs about race and culture and helping them set clear staffing targets: 10% black, African American and African employees, 10% Hispanic or Latinx employees, and 5% non-binary, and split between men and women. It’s working. “We saw that the top startups in our program could get to very high numbers of underrepresented groups in their workforces, so it gives me hope that people can do that across all types of startups and eventually across all of tech,” says Pao. Check out the depressing benchmarks in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Diversity in High Tech Report.USA Today

Puerto Rican debt relief? Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has published a thorough plan to offer debt relief to Puerto Rico. She begins by bashing the PROMESA bill, the 2016 legislation designed to help the island restructure its $72 billion debt…then reminding people she voted against it. “For over a decade, Puerto Rico has been a clear example of how well the federal government works for Wall Street and how poorly it works for everyone else,” she says. Warren is re-introducing the U.S Territorial Relief Act which includes a provision to let the island cancel its public debt under certain conditions. Warren hopes to “give Puerto Rico a shot at getting out from under its crushing debt load and building a future for itself.” The plan was published in English and Spanish.
Latino Rebels

Facebook bans far-right and anti-Semitic leaders
Facebook has permanently banned several far-right and anti-Semitic leaders and groups including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and Infowars host Alex Jones for being “dangerous.” Also gone are accounts, fan pages, and groups associated with the banned content creators on Facebook and Instagram. The company has been under fire for failing to adequately enforce its policies on hate speech, so the move is likely to be supported by civil rights groups. “We’ve always banned individuals or organization that promote or engage in violence and hate regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision,” Facebook said in a statement.
Washington Post

Regina King signs deal with Netflix
Oscar and Emmy winner Regina King has just signed a multiyear year deal with Netflix through her production company, Royal Ties. She will be developing both films and SCRIPTED? series from the streaming service. “I am beyond thrilled to join the Netflix family. They are at the top of the game as an artist I am so excited to come play in this wonderful sandbox they have created for storytellers,” she says. It’s a big tent: King is joining fellow creators Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy, and Barack and Michelle Obama who also develop content for the streaming service.
Hollywood Reporter

 

On Background

In Burundi, nobody is out and proud
Without giving away their specific identities or locations, this extraordinary report from the BBC explores the secret ways that lesbians and bisexual women communicate and connect when they live in a country where homosexuality is illegal. There are secret symbols on t-shirts, insidery memes, and real danger. In Burundi, women can be jailed, fined, abused by husbands, or killed for even an accusation of homosexuality. But love and uplift find a way. “There are two ways lesbian and bisexual women find each in Bujumbura – luck and the Internet,” says Megha Mohan of the community of lesbian women who support each other. The illustrations are beautiful and do a masterful job enriching the stories while hiding the women’s identities. Please share.
BBC

Black and Latinx diabetes patients are more likely to need amputations
The disparities are not subtle. According to a Kaiser Health News analysis, out of 82,000 diabetic amputation surgeries performed in California from 2011-2017, black or Latinx patients were more than twice as likely to have a foot or leg amputated as non-Hispanic white ones. And according to a 2015 study, diabetics living in the nation’s poorest areas were 39% more likely to have an amputation than people in the highest income areas. Experts suggest that inadequate education, less access to healthy food, and fewer places to exercise may be driving the poor outcomes. “Amputations are an unnecessary consequence of this devastating disease,” says USC’s Dr. David Armstrong. “It’s an epidemic within an epidemic. And it’s a problem that’s totally ignored.” Today, over 30 million people are living with diabetes, though fewer than 5 adults out of every 1,000  get amputations.
KQED

Black students in Texas are worried
The current reason is an expansion of the state’s school marshal program that will put more armed “peace officers” in Texas schools. But the issues run far deeper. “We already get profiled based on the clothes we wear, how we look, our hair, what color our eyes our – and the main thing is our skin,” says Texas high school senior, Ahmir Johnson. Johnson has heard countless horror stories of the way school officers treat African American students at his and surrounding schools. “[Lawmakers] can’t cover up how these programs might have an unintentional impact on students of color,” he says. Of course, parents are worried too. Courtney Robinson, an African American scholar and mother of two children in the Texas school system says “If we can’t even treat black and brown students with respect when all they’re doing is walking or talking, why would parents feel safe if we’re then arming people who are not law enforcement or increasing the amount of law enforcement at schools?”
Texas Tribune

Aidan Taylor assisted in the preparation of today’s summaries.

Quote

So, you know, that is a joke that I always made about, you know, Obama lives in, you know, the president lives in public housing. But I didn’t mean it like a “black person” did. I just meant that, you know, you know, being in the White House, you know, for example, when I was working with a lot of women in families who were involved in the education voucher program, you know, here in DC, and people would say, well, you know, and these were blacks who would say, you know, why does Barack Obama get to send his kids to any school that he wants to and we can’t? And they’d say, he lives in public housing, and it was just kind of a joke.
—Former Fed nominee Steven Moore explaining a racist joke