Capitol Alert

Black caucus blasts Facebook, tech industry for lack of diversity at the top

In this Sept. 4, 2012 file photo, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C..
In this Sept. 4, 2012 file photo, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.. AP

Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland and Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., kick off an initiative in San Francisco on Monday pressing for greater diversity and inclusion in Silicon Valley’s booming technology industry.

Lee and Butterfield are spearheading the effort as co-chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus Diversity Taskforce. Members met with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg last week, telling her they are disappointed with the company for “failure to include African Americans in its top leadership positions,” according to Lee’s office.

All eight members of Facebook’s board of directors are white. Two are women, including Sandberg.

“The jobs of the future are in technology. Sadly, communities of color are woefully underrepresented in Silicon Valley, which all too often treats diversity and inclusion as an afterthought,” Lee said earlier this year, introducing a resolution “to address the persistent racial disparities in the technology industry” on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus, along with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Following last week’s meeting, Sandberg told the Congressional Black Caucus that Facebook will bring an African American onto its board “within the foreseeable future,” The Hill reported.

Lee and Butterfield are slated to hold an 11 a.m. press conference on the broader initiative at the San Francisco-based tech company Hustle, a new text messaging platform. Lee’s office will livestream the event on her Facebook page.

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WORTH REPEATING: “It’s a huge step backward and demonstrates that the Party remains tone deaf.” – Chad Mayes, former Assembly Republican Leader, on his party’s decision to have Steve Bannon speak at its convention this week.

CALIFORNIA FIRES: Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has has asked insurers to expedite wildfire damage claims for those affected by the Northern California fire, still burning in the region. At least 5,700 homes and businesses have been destroyed.

Insurance policyholders are eligible for advanced payment – up to four months – of living expenses, Jones said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is also urging those who suffered damage or losses during the fire to register at DisasterAssistance.gov to receive help.

HEALTHY MOTHERS: State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, hosts a “Healthy Mothers Workplace” awards ceremony in San Francisco, honoring 63 employers “that demonstrate their commitment to health and equity for working parents,” according to organizers. Businesses that provide parental leave, lactation accommodation and other family-friendly policies will be recognized.

The event is 2 to 4 p.m. at 90 Seventh St., San Francisco. Wiener and San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang are among the listed speakers.

HOUSING CRUNCH: Sen. Bob Wiekowski, D-San Jose, will discuss ways to address California’s housing challenges at an event hosted by the nonprofit Housing Trust Silicon Valley, which provides loans and grants to affordable housing developers and low- to moderate-income homebuyers.

TOWN HALL ALERT: Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, holds a constituent town hall at 111 North Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek.

DACA: Immigration advocates will deliver 200,000 signatures to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, urging her to “do everything in her power” to pass a “clean” DREAM Act, creating a path to citizenship for immigrant children brought to the U.S. by their parents.

Organizers include the groups Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance.

DISTRACTED DRIVING: An event at the Capitol on Monday seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Six families are slated to share their stories about accidents involving a distracted driver that killed a family member, and two people will share their stories about driving while distracted. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. at the west steps of the Capitol.

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