This year’s theme – What Affects One Affects All reminds me of my journey in tech and the mission of the Milky Way Tech Hub. In my career, I have been witness to the remarkable impacts of technology on society. I’ve also observed the glaring gaps in the tech industry that continue to widen the disparities in communities of color.
Milky Way Tech Hub’s core mission is to develop strategic programming that leverages technology to enhance society and bridge the economic and achievement gaps in our communities. It’s about leveraging tech as a tool for creating a future where everyone can prosper and thrive.
I’m grateful for the work that is carried out in our STEM/ Workforce pillar. One program that I am most proud of is Bridging The Tech Gap for Returning Citizens where Milky Way Tech Hub partners with a nonprofit My Way Out to educate presently incarcerated and justice-involved individuals. Aside from this program we also extend our efforts in inner city schools and educate youth on the possibilities of pursuing a career in technology.
The individuals I’ve encountered through our STEM/Workforce programs are not only brilliant but brimming with innovative ideas. However, due to a lack of access and resources, these bright minds often find themselves on the fringes of the tech world. Their exclusion from the tech industry not only dims their bright potential but also robs the tech ecosystem of transformative perspectives that only they are equipped to share.
We are interconnected
Injustice or exclusion of any group not only causes direct harm to those affected but also impacts society at large. It’s a reminder that in the tech industry, inclusivity and diversity aren’t just buzzwords; they’re essential for creating a just, equitable, and thriving technological future.
In April 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and sent to jail in Birmingham, Alabama for organizing a nonviolent protest. In response, he wrote a letter that included the quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” This powerful message encapsulates the ethos of the Milky Way Tech Hub. It’s a call to acknowledge and act upon the interconnectedness of our actions and their wider impacts.
Here are 5 ways that you can contribute to a more equitable tech ecosystem:
- Education and Access Initiatives: Ask your company to support stem programs in inner-city schools. This can include sponsoring coding boot camps, providing scholarships for tech education, and creating mentorship programs to help guide underrepresented groups into the tech industry.
- Diverse Hiring Practices: Encourage your company to implement inclusive job postings, diverse hiring panels, and partnerships with organizations that support underrepresented tech talent.
- Supplier Diversity: Encourage and engage in supplier diversity by doing business with Black and Latine-owned, women-owned companies.
- Donate to My Way Out to support the Bridging the Tech Gap for Returning Citizens program.
- Donate your gently used laptops, devices to Milky Way Tech Hub – Nadiyah@jetconstellations.com