13 leaders aiming to increase African Americans in tech

SAN FRANCISCO — In Silicon Valley, they call it the 2% problem.


African Americans make up a tiny fraction of the overwhelmingly white and Asian male workforces of major technology companies, the ranks of aspiring entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who control the spigot of money and access.


Silicon Valley is taking steps to offer more opportunities to underrepresented minorities in the nation's fastest-growing, highest-paying industry. But no one is working harder to tear down barriers for African Americans than a growing cadre of entrepreneurs, investors, engineers and advocates pioneering a range of innovative efforts, from teaching kids of color how to code to preparing African American and Latino engineers for jobs in Silicon Valley.

Witness: 'EveryHow Prince helped launch the #YesWeCode initiative after the Trayvon Martin verdictbody was lying' after Michael Jackson died

CNN commentator Van Jones shared an emotional story on the Dr. Drew Show about his relationship with Prince and how the two started working together on the #YesWeCode initiative.


Jones elaborated on Prince's involvement at the 20th Anniversary Essence Festival in 2014 where the initiative was launched. On stage Jones shared the story of how Prince was inspired not just to bring awareness to a cause, but create an project that would bring an opportunity for men and women to find success in the tech industry.


"After the Trayvon Martin verdict I was talking to Prince and he said, 'You know, every time people see a young black man wearing a hoodie, they think, he's a thug. But if they see a young white guy wearing a hoodie they think, oh that might be Mark Zuckerberg. That might be a dot-com billionaire.'"

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