Co-founder Freada Kapor Klein, who started the Level Playing Field Institute 13 years ago to teach and mentor black and Latino students in science and math, said Google is showing leadership “which has been sorely needed for a long time.”
“Google is the company known for the moonshot, and applying that part of Google DNA to this problem is a breath of fresh air,” she said.
Earlier this year, the Rev. Jesse Jackson launched a campaign to diversify Silicon Valley, asking to meet with leaders of several iconic technology companies about bringing black and Hispanics into their workforce and leadership.
Since then, he’s been leading delegations to annual shareholder’s meetings at firms including Google, Facebook, eBay Inc. and Hewlett-Packard.
On Wednesday Jackson said Google is to be commended.
“It’s a bold step in the right direction. We urge other companies to follow Google’s lead,” he said. “Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated an ability to solve the most challenging and complex problems in the world. Inclusion is a complex problem — if we put our collective minds together, we can solve that too.”
Iris Gardner, a manager at nonprofit Code2040, which places high performing black and Latino software engineering students in internships with top tech companies, said Google’s disclosure could mark a pivotal moment in the push to diversify Silicon Valley.
“It is a big deal for them to be transparent about something that most companies haven’t in the past been willing to share,” she said.