Members of the Congressional Black Caucus
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus

The Congressional Black Caucus is taking action to address the lack of diversity at tech-industry giants like Facebook and Google. It’s hosting an event Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to launch the CBC Tech 2020 initiative, The Hill reports.

The event, which will take place at the Library of Congress, will outline diversity; discuss best practices; present legislation on increasing STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—education; and spotlight African-American students and entrepreneurs, according to a CBC statement.

“Many of the technology companies have African Americans as very loyal customers, and many of those don’t have any African Americans on their boards,” CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) told The Hill. “Their senior leadership within many of these companies is not inclusive, and the workforce is appalling. And their reinvestment in African-American communities is less than desirable.”

A USA Today study showed that black and Hispanic students are graduating with computer science degrees from top universities at twice the rate that big tech companies hire them.

Google came clean last year about its lack of diversity. The data revealed that African Americans made up just 2 percent of its employees. This revelation came after considerable pressure to unveil its hiring figures.

“The numbers tell the story, and action is long overdue,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said,according to USA Today. “Inclusion of African Americans in the tech workforce has been treated as an afterthought for far too long. As the momentum for change continues to build, companies are starting to see that innovation requires a representative and diverse workforce.”

The CBC invited tech-company representatives to attend today’s event. Black lawmakers want to open the door to communication and impress upon the companies the urgent need for diversity.

“We will not rule out a confrontation if it becomes [that],” Butterfield told USA Today. “We want to work with these companies to try to connect them with qualified African-American students and individuals.”

This article was first published in TheRoot.com

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