by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr.

Jan. 15, 2015 – Today is Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. After much blood, sweat and tears, it is a cherished national holiday when we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, his life of struggle and the legacy he left for our ongoing struggle for civil and human rights.

Dr. King understood that without greater economic equality, racial disparities and divisions could not be overcome. In his “I Have a Dream” speech, he said, “We refuse to believe there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.” Today, he would tell Silicon Valley that poor people from nearby Black neighborhoods can be just as valuable and successful as people born poor in India who have thrived and helped the technology industry thrive.
Dr. King understood that without greater economic equality, racial disparities and divisions could not be overcome. In his “I Have a Dream” speech, he said, “We refuse to believe there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.” Today, he would tell Silicon Valley that poor people from nearby Black neighborhoods can be just as valuable and successful as people born poor in India who have thrived and helped the technology industry thrive.

Government offices, banks, schools and many businesses will close this coming Monday, Jan. 19, 2015.

But most technology companies will not be observing Martin Luther King Day – sadly but not surprisingly, they will be open and conducting business as usual.

Last year, the Rainbow PUSH successfully engaged over two dozen leading technology companies to release their EEO-1 report and workforce diversity data. The data over and over showed the glaring under-representation of Blacks, Latinos and women in every company.

And the campaign has generated a new climate of change sweeping through Silicon Valley and the tech industry. Nowhere is this climate of change more apparent than in Intel’s diversity initiative announced at the start of 2015:

Intel has set a goal of reaching full representation of women and people of color in their workforce, measuring progress, tying compensation to diversity performance goals, and setting a specific timetable – 2020, just five years from now – to achieve their goals. And they’ve allocated an initial $300 million budget to begin to implement their plan.

RainbowPUSH is holding its 18th annual Wall Street Economic Summit in New York this week – including keynotes from Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and participation from Silicon Harlem, Tech Meet up, Black Enterprise and the National Venture Capital Association.

We started this Wall Street initiative with the simple idea that the New York Stock Exchange should honor the King Holiday. We appealed to Dick Grasso, chair of the NYSE at the time, and we won.

But most technology companies will not be observing Martin Luther King Day – sadly but not surprisingly, they will be open and conducting business as usual.

It does not make sense to tout diversity and inclusion, to promote change and innovation and not recognize the King Holiday.

It’s time for the technology companies to join with America and close their doors and honor the King Holiday. Close your doors on the King Holiday, and expand your effort to open the doors of opportunity for women and people of color.

This Monday only a handful of technology companies will close their doors and honor the King Holiday. For those that don’t, make clear your commitment to diversity and inclusion. Make clear your alignment with civil and human rights.

Make clear your intention to close your doors and honor the King Holiday in 2016 and forever on, and let freedom ring throughout the valley.

It’s time for the technology companies to join with America and close their doors and honor the King Holiday. Close your doors on the King Holiday, and expand your effort to open the doors of opportunity for women and people of color.

As Dr. King would say “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson, a Baptist minister and founder of RainbowPUSH, ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1984, winning nearly 3.3 million primary votes, 18.9 percent of the total, and in 1988, winning nearly 7 million primary votes, 29.13 percent of the total. He can be reached at ReverendJesseJackson@keephopealiveradio.com.

18 COMMENTS

  1. This Monday just a modest bunch of innovation organizations will close their entryways and honor the King Holiday. For those that don't, make clear your dedication to differing qualities and incorporation. Make clear your arrangement with common and human rights.

  2. Technology should be advanced day by day because technology makes our life more easier day by day.For this purpose we can introduce this modern world with some more advanced technology.You can also go through this link essay my best holiday ever for some more great post.Thanks for your grate post.l

  3. I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I have been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided vibrant transparent idea

  4. I can understand that we're not willing to pay for a manned spaceflight program, thus our getting the short end of the stick re the ISS, But not maintaining a national, indigenous industrial capability to manufacture rockets and engines to launch USAF satellites for national defense? That is simply insane.

  5. This is my first time i go to here. I found so many thrilling stuff for your weblog specifically its dialogue. From the lots of comments in your articles, I wager I am no longer the only one having all the leisure right here! Maintain up the best paintings.

  6. To be honest with you no one wants to close their business for anyone. Although Martin Luther King also doesn’t want this. He would have a country to be growing. All the companies in Silicon Valley run the country economically. It’s not that easy to close your Corporate Logo Designing easily. Most of the clients are abroad and you have to provide their things on time.

Leave a Reply