South by South West: Is Technological Advancement Leaving American Minorities Behind?


Hope you have heard of the ancient Greek saying that goes “society will record significant growth when old men keep on planting trees, yet they know they will never sit in their shade.” The co-founder of MVMT50, Donell Creech, believes that he is among these old men especially when it comes to diversity in the technology sector.

MVMT50 is a coalition of black professional that has been working to improve diversity in employment, cultural representation, and developing leaders in the Innovation, digital and technology sectors. Apart from presenting its personal programming as part of the annual South by South West (SXSW) festival this year, Donell stated that they are placing more emphasis on highlighting the programming of other people that focuses on diversity.

Creech told the NBCBLK that it is important for someone to highlight the fact that they are there and by raising the awareness. He added that SXSW is a very big event that could not allow them to overlook programming. He said that when everybody else was off in Siloes doing their cores, it could lead the participants to believe that the experience of the black has little representation if they are not looking for it. According to him, there is nothing like saying, “the people of this color are here, and they will be our focus this year.”

This is the thirtieth year of SXSW, interactive media, the annual film, conference Conglomerate in Austin Texas and music festival. According to Creech, this event has been growing over the years even though increased effort that targets programming for African Americans has only been evident in the last five to six years.

He continues to say that they have only been able to make a dent in that time. He stated that it is critical to give those who are coming for the first time an idea of what to expect. MVMT50 is going on with its work of developing the diversity 360. They are making attempts to streamline the structuring and conversion of strategies for efficient progress in their report.

Maya Beasley who is the co-founder of the T-10 group has assisted them to find funding and support for the report. However, Beasley admits that it has been a slow process. He says that the report will help them to account for ongoing accountability and assessment of tech companies and the efforts they place towards diversity. She told NBCBLK that they could use the report to assist in figuring out the best practices of the industry.

She says that they need to find out what the increasing number of companies that are becoming more diverse are doing and share the experience with others. Beasley says that most companies currently don’t provide their diversity numbers. According to her, only 20 to 30 establishments in the Silicon Valley have been providing their date. She also says that it is not an easy task to get them provide their data. However, she says that most organizations have a diverse tech workforce. The only concern that has remained is the type of diversity.