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Yesterday in this space, my colleague Danielle Abril reviewed Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai’s pledge to increase black representation in the company’s senior ranks. Later in the day, Pichai spoke with another of my colleagues, Ellen McGirt, to elaborate on his views.
In a far-ranging interview, Pichai touches not just on the problems of hiring and diversity in Google’s executive ranks, but also how the company can make an impact in the wider world. Part of Pichai’s plan will direct $100 million to invest in black-led startups and capital firms. Part of Google’s response will be to rethink where it locates major offices, as well. Pichai mentions Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Chicago as places with more diverse populations and robust communities.
“It’s been a long journey,” Pichai says. “I’ve heard it before, but to hear stories, particularly in this context, it’s clear that there is systemic racism that permeates not just dealings with law enforcement, but be it housing, be it education, be it health care and in the workplace, right? And so I think the question is how can we capture the moment and translate it into attention and effort that sustains over time to create change.”
In other related coverage, please don’t miss our project “Working While Black: Stories from black corporate America,” which was developed by our brilliant newsletter editor Karen Yuan. These stories of real people’s experiences are equal parts moving and alarming. Hopefully they can also raise awareness and prompt changes in behavior and practices that have been too long in coming.
Much to think about, much work left to do.