FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 16, 2021
Color Of Change Unveils New Racial Equity Framework to Hold Tech Companies Accountable to Racial Justice Commitments
‘Beyond the Statement: Tech’ Framework outlines concrete steps for tech companies to ensure a more humane and less hostile internet for Black people
NATIONWIDE — Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, today released a new racial equity framework outlining the steps tech companies must take to act in alignment with their stated values. The tech framework is the latest expansion of the organization’s #BeyondTheStatement campaign, which aims to hold corporations across a range of industries accountable for enabling harms against Black employees, consumers and community stakeholders.
“For years, we have been calling on powerful Big Tech companies such as Google to conduct racial equity audits and to retool their dangerous business models and racially-biased internal practices and policies. Despite their loud pronouncements of commitment to racial equity, major tech companies have continuously failed to take meaningful action.” said Rashad Robinson, President of Color Of Change. “This Framework not only serves as a roadmap for companies to move from words to action, but also as a tool for advocates, investors, the government and the public to hold tech companies accountable to their commitments. We cannot allow tech platforms to dictate the terms of progress, because history has shown us they are unable to self-regulate — resulting in rampant hostility in workplaces, harm from products and discrimination in practices. If tech companies are truly serious about addressing racial equity, they should adopt this comprehensive framework and rigorously examine all the ways their products, policies and practices impact Black users, employees and communities.
The landmark ‘Beyond the Statement: Tech’ Framework lists critical demands, including calls to:
- Increase Transparency by conducting a racial equity audit, excluding discrimination provisions from non-disclosure agreements and implementing and enforcing a non-retaliation policy, and more;
- Evaluate Products for Discrimination by ensuring developers and engineers prioritize civil rights and anti-discrimination when creating products, and creating systems that allow users to share feedback, among other measures;
- Recruit, Hire, and Support a Diverse Workforce by altering hiring metrics, increasing recruitment efforts at HBCUs and state universities, creating an inclusive company culture, and treating all workers essential to business functions as employees;
- Hire and Empower Internal Civil Rights Staff by appointing a C-suite level civil rights leader and civil rights staff and granting them critical decision-making power;
- Hold Internal Decision Makers Accountable by creating civil rights-oriented accountability systems tied to performance evaluations and routinely measuring user product experience and impact by race;
- Divest from Police and Mass Incarceration by terminating partnerships with law enforcement agencies that advance the use of surveillance technology, ending corporate support of police foundations and financing of law enforcement nonprofits, and more.
This Framework is a continuation of Color Of Change’s years-long fight to combat tech corporations’ internal and external failures to address racial discrimination. Over the course of nearly a decade, the organization has successfully pressured Big Tech companies to respond to their civil rights demands. For example, Color Of Change pushed Airbnb to undergo a civil rights audit, and later partnered with the company on Project Lighthouse to root out the presence of discrimination on its app. In 2018, Color Of Change successfully pressured Facebook into agreeing to its first-ever public civil rights audit, which was completed last year. As part of a coalition of civil right groups, Color Of Change also helped lead the Stop Hate for Profit campaign in 2020. The effort resulted in more than 1,200 advertisers pulling millions in ad revenues from Facebook, forcing Facebook to concede to two long-standing demands by Color Of Change: the establishment of a senior role to oversee civil rights and the creation of a dedicated team to study algorithmic racial bias.
Color Of Change, alongside its allies and its millions of members, now demands tech corporations adopt the new framework in its entirety. The organization also remains committed to calling on Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to center racial justice as they reign in the power of tech platforms by adequately resourcing federal agencies such as the FTC, ensuring robust antitrust enforcement, and passing comprehensive privacy and algorithmic accountability laws such as the Algorithmic Justice and Online Platform Transparency Act.
To read the full ‘Beyond the Statement: Tech’ Framework, click here.
About Color Of Change:
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.