Black History Month: Tech titans are honoring Black history this February and beyond

    These choices embody instruments to assist individuals help Black-owned companies, digital museum choices, coding initiatives, abilities coaching, and extra.

    Image: Microsoft
    February serves as a month-long celebration of Black historical past and a time to honor pioneers, artists, athletes, political figures, and extra all through the Black group. To honor Black History Month, titans in expertise are providing abilities coaching, racial justice coding initiatives, and options to assist individuals help Black-owned companies. Below, we have detailed a number of the methods Microsoft, the Linux Foundation, IBM, Apple, and Google are honoring Black History Month this February and past.

    MicrosoftIn the previous, museums have provided curated occasions detailing Black historical past throughout February. However, COVID-19 has pressured many museums to shut to mitigate the unfold of the coronavirus pandemic. To help, Microsoft is providing a “virtual journey through Black history” in collaboration with greater than a dozen museums and different establishments. Overall, the Microsoft Black History Month expertise affords digital reveals highlighting, Muhammad Ali, the Tuskegee Airmen, Jackie Robinson, and extra.SEE: Diversity and Inclusion coverage (TechRepublic Premium)”Growing up in Detroit … we leaned on our museums as the main source of history and historical reflection during Black History Month,” mentioned Shy Averett, group program and occasions supervisor at Microsoft Store within the weblog put up. “[But now] museums are closed, and students can’t go to them. I knew 90-plus percent of schools in America were not going to have a rich, diverse, educational Black History Month because they lean so heavily on museums.”

    Microsoft’s Legacy Project affords a digital portal highlighting Black trailblazers equivalent to physics pioneer, an engineer concerned in Martian exploration efforts, in addition to educators, political figures, enterprise professionals, and extra.

    “Black history isn’t something of the past—it’s alive and being made every single day. Kids are the next generation of history-makers, so with museums closed, I was determined to find a way for Microsoft Store to virtually bring Black history to life for students around the country,” Averett mentioned.”We’re proud to partner with top museums and use immersive technology to showcase the Black achievers shaping our history and our future,” Averett continued.IBM and Linux FoundationOn Friday, the Linux Foundation introduced plans to host a collection of initiatives as a part of the Call for Code for Racial Justice initiative which launched final fall. Overall, the Linux Foundation mentioned the initiative is meant to “urge the global developer ecosystem and open source community to contribute to solutions that can help confront racial inequalities.”The venture entails three main areas together with numerous illustration, police and judicial reform and accountability, in addition to coverage and laws reform. The Linux Foundation mentioned this venture builds on the Call for Code, which has amassed greater than 400,000 “developers and problem solvers” from 179 international locations since its inception in 2018. “Open source technology has an important role to play in addressing the greatest challenges of our time, and that includes racial justice,” mentioned Mike Dolan, senior vice chairman and GM of initiatives on the Linux Foundation within the launch. “We are excited to host and support these projects at the Linux Foundation and look forward to how they will develop and deploy through contributions from the open source community.”SEE: Black workers are much less happy at work than all different workers (TechRepublic)The Linux Foundation additionally introduced two new initiatives: Fair Change and TakeTwo in partnership with IBM. TakeTwo is meant to scale back each “overt or subtle” biases in a variety of digital content material, together with information articles, blogs, internet pages, “and even code,” the discharge mentioned.The Fair Change platform is designed to allow recording, cataloging, and entry of proof associated to “potentially racially charged incidents” enabling “transparency, reeducation and reform as a matter of public interest and safety,” based on the Linux Foundation. The launch makes use of a site visitors cease for example, noting that the video footage from this state of affairs may permit authorities and different “involved parties” to peruse these supplies and assess potential situational biases.”These applications emerged from an internal IBM program called the Call for Code Emb(race) Challenge, where Black IBMers, supported by Red Hat’s Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity (B.U.I.L.D.) community, and allies designed technology solutions to address the problem of systemic racism,” mentioned Ruth Davis, IBM director of Call for Code, within the launch.GoogleEarlier this month, Melonie Parker, Google’s chief variety officer and worker engagement introduced Grow with Google: Black Women Lead which goals to offer 100,000 Black ladies with digital abilities coaching by 2022. That overwhelming majority of middle-skill jobs require digital software proficiency and Grow with Google: Black Women Lead will “focus on this essential training,” Parker defined.”The pandemic has resulted in unemployment for millions of Americans, and its impacts are further revealing the economic opportunity gaps that still exist for Black women. During COVID-19, women have accounted for 56% of workforce exits, and Black women have been particularly impacted, losing 154,000 jobs in December 2020 alone,” Parker mentioned within the launch.SEE: Reddit chief says variety audits are a take a look at to see if tech leaders are all discuss and no motion (TechRepublic)Google has additionally launched capabilities to make it simpler for individuals to search out and help native Black-owned companies. Comparing Google Trends information from 2020 to 2019, the corporate mentioned that curiosity in “black owned businesses” has elevated 600%. On Feb. 1, Google introduced that it was making it simpler for individuals to find and buy items from numerous Black-owned firms by “extending the Black-owned attribute to Google’s Shopping tab.” The firm mentioned it will construct on an attribute launched on Maps and Google search final summer season.In January, Minecraft introduced it had created classes concerning the Civil Rights motion and Black Lives Matter in its Good Trouble world, and people so-inclined can entry a free demo of those choices till Feb. 28.AppleApple can be honoring Black History Month with options throughout its product choices starting from information apps to instructed studying. During February, people can entry the Black History Month Hub within the App Store to peruse highlighted social justice functions, Black-owned companies, and consider featured conversations with Black builders concerning the “importance of representation in apps and games,” based on Apple.Guides created in collaboration with EatOkra provide directories of Black-owned companies; Apple Music will honor Black artists and influencers by highlighting movies, essays, and playlists; and the Apple TV app will showcase “multidimensionality of the Black family and its representation on screen” by way of the Essential Stories assortment. The firm additionally introduced a Black Unity Collection for its Apple Watch Series 6, and Apple additionally affords Black History Month options on its information, books, and podcasts choices. 

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