The New York Times published a piece yesterday about the lack of diversity in tech companies, with especially few positions of leadership available for Black and Latino employees. In the companies surveyed, only 1%-2% of employees were Black. The Congressional Black Caucus visited Silicon Valley to find out more. Barbara Lee, D-CA, noted “prosperity [of the tech industry] has not reached Black residents in the Bay Area,” and that the institutions of the area should be required to support the community they operate in. The Congressional Black Caucus hope to introduce legislation that would give more power to the Community Reinvestment Act, which would require tech companies to fund programs that reach out to the surrounding residents.
The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 needs to be updated to reflect the changing conditions of society. Originally enacted to mandate financial institutions to support the “credit needs” of the community, it has been moderately successful. By expanding the Act to include tech companies, the achievements of the Act can be modernized and continue to grow and be relevant.
Outreach programs such as the ones outlined by the Act will give California residents an opportunity to influence tech companies. Through diversity and internship programs, Black residents will be able to land positions within majority white companies. However, the legislation introduced by thr Congressional Black Caucus is vital. Without it, tech companies can continue the policies they have now, which exclude people of color from their organizations. To remedy this, there must be a concerted effort for change, and the Community Reinvestment Act is the ideal starting point.