Reverend Jesse Jackson issues a call to action at Microsoft shareholders’ meeting

We reported earlier this morning Microsoft is shaking up its Board of Directors once again. As the technology company gets ready to make some changes, the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH Coalition is taking the opportunity to make a few remarks at Microsoft’s Shareholder Meeting.

Reverend Jackson notes in general in the tech industry, African Americans and Latinos are underrepresented on their Board of Directors. His PUSH Coalition’s research revealed that in 2014, out of twenty tech companies with a total of 189 directors, only three African Americans and just one Latino are represented on the Boards. Reverend Jackson takes the time to commend Microsoft for adding two women to the Board of Directors earlier this year but calls for Microsoft to add African American and Latino directors. He also offers the services of the PUSH Coalition to help Microsoft identify qualified appointments.

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The Reverend feels Microsoft is in a unique position to lead a new era in diversity. He applauds Microsoft for their recent efforts to expand the diversity of its employees and reach out to underrepresented communities. Reverend Jackson thinks Microsoft’s Law Firm Diversity program should be replicated throughout the industry to support more African American firms and lawyers. Reverend Jackson and the PUSH Coalition are also excited by the expansion of the TEALS and Youth Spark program, which offers computer science education for underrepresented backgrounds.

But he also feels Microsoft needs to reinvigorate its multi-cultural advertising to engage African American and Latino media, advertising and marketing agencies. The PUSH Coalition research notes that African Americans and Latino are now total at almost 100 million people in the US and possess some $2 trillion in purchasing power. He further asks specifically what targets and timetables Microsoft is going to set for itself to measure progress for expanding its diversity and inclusion.

Stay tuned for more from Microsoft’s Shareholder Meeting, currently underway. If you wish to read more of the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s remarks, you can read his prepared remarks here on GeekWire.

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