Black Lives Matter is greater than a hashtag. Tech corporations must act prefer it

Last year, as protesters flooded streets across the country over the police killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and several other unarmed Black men and women, many tech companies decided to publicly show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

This included promises to change workplace culture and increase diversity among staff, grand displays of donating millions of dollars to the NAACP and visibly highlighting “Black Lives Matter” slogans on their respective websites.

Many of these gestures gained media traction and earned public goodwill for the companies involved. But, a year later, their promises to affect change largely haven’t materialized in the form of tangible results. As a distracted public shifted its attention to other major events (the presidential election, Jan. 6 insurrection, COVID reopening and mass shootings come to mind), tech companies, too, lost track of — or set aside — meeting the robust goals they originally set forth.

According to a recent report from recruiting platform Blendoor, several companies have laid off more minority employees than they’ve hired, despite rhetoric pledging to do the opposite. Out of 110 companies cited in the report, those that made a #BlackLivesMatter pledge have 20% fewer Black employees on average than companies that did not make the pledge. There are still no Black women named executive officers in the 240 tech companies analyzed by Blendoor.

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