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Jesse Jackson launches Digital Inclusion initiative to take on Silicon Valley

(March 26, 2014) The Rev. Jesse Jackson has announced that his organization, The Rainbow PUSH Coalition, has organized a Digital Inclusion initiative to address the lack of minority participation in all aspects of the technology industry.

On March 19, Rev. Jackson led a delegation to the Hewlett-Packard annual shareholders meeting to call attention to the lack of minority inclusion in Silicon Valley. He emphasized the virtual absence of African Americans in corporate boardrooms, corporate suites, financial transactions, advertising and professional services.

"Silicon Valley and the tech industry has demonstrated that it can solve the most challenging complex problems in the world," Rev. Jackson said. "Inclusion is a complex problem -- if we put our collective minds to it, we can solve it, too. There's nothing we can't do, together.

Blacks are biggest per capital users of social media and the internet, said Jackson. "We use HP computers and printers; we use iPhones and Androids. We are a huge part of your customer base. It's time the boards of directors and C-suites -- the businesses you do business with -- reflect your customer base."

According to Target Market News' report, The Buying Power of Black America, the two largest technology advertisers, Apple and Microsoft, collectively spent just $6.7 million on advertising in black- targeted media. The amount spent by black consumers on computers and consumer electronic was $8.6 billion.

Rev. Jackson added, "At its best, technology can be a tremendously positive change agent for the world; at its worst, it can hold on to old patterns that exclude people of color and women from opportunity and advancement. Silicon Valley and the tech industry must transform itself to mirror the America it depends upon for talent and customers."

Rainbow PUSH is seeking meetings with tech leaders to identify strategies and solutions to expand the participation of African American and people of color," and to become partners based on reciprocity and mutual benefit.


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