Rev. Jesse Jackson, in Silicon Valley, Continues Push to Diversify Tech

Rainbow Push Coalition founder bring diversity advocates to eBay shareholders' meeting

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBC Bay Area
    Rev. Jesse Jackson arrives at eBay headquarters in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

    Rev. Jesse Jackson is back in Silicon Valley, pushing tech companies to recruit more minorities in an ongoing effort to improve Silicon Valley's poor record of including them in hiring, board appointments and startup funding.

    Jackson brought diversity advocates to eBay's shareholders' meeting in San Jose on Tuesday morning, where he urged company leaders to boost the numbers of minorities in boardrooms, in financial transactions and as contractors.

    Earlier this year, Jackson and his nonprofit Rainbow Push Coalition launched what they call the "new digital inclusion initiative" with highly publicized letters to Apple, Facebook and Google. They also took their message to Hewlett Packard's March shareholder meeting.

    During that meeting, the civil rights activist noted that HP didn't have any black members on its board and said Stanford University and other colleges and universities need to create more opportunities for minorities.

    Jackson will head to Mountain View on Wednesday to meet with Google's leaders.

    It's widely recognized that high tech lacks diversity: about one in 14 tech workers is black or Latino, both in the Silicon Valley and nationally.

    "Technology is supposed to be about inclusion, but sadly, patterns of exclusion remains the order of the day,'' Jackson wrote in a statement Monday.

    In the past, Jackson's critics have accused him of profiting from similar protest actions. These critics have said that after Jackson targeted companies over diversity issues, some ended up donating large sums to Jackson's organizations, or the targeted companies gave contracts to minority-owned firms that paid Jackson for referrals.

     

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.