Promote more black leaders, workers urge Zuckerberg

Employees from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are adding to a growing chorus of voices calling for racial justice

Promote more black leaders, workers urge Zuckerberg

“What side of history will this organization be on moving forward?”

It’s a question that employees of billionaire philanthropists – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Dr. Priscilla Chan – are asking as they add to a growing chorus of voices calling for racial justice.

Employees from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), the charity group established by the power couple, have signed a petition calling on their founders to do more to address systemic racism and foster inclusivity in their organisation.

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“We acknowledge the impactful work that CZI has done recently, from our grants work to our industry-leading diversity stats. But the deeper needs of this organization remain unaddressed,” the staff members wrote, as quoted in technology website Re/code.

The letter was signed by 74 employees, many of whom work on CZI’s education initiatives. The petition laid out 12 proposed changes, including elevating more black leaders to management roles and enlisting people from historically marginalised sectors to serve as advisors of the foundation.

“Given that we are the technologists working with subject matter experts in this space, the bar of responsibility is high on our end to ensure what we design is not excluding people,” the group said.

This isn’t the first instance that a group of experts and employees connected with the foundation have spoken out about the couple’s response to growing unrest in the US.

Earlier this month, scientists and scholars associated with CZI sent a “letter of concern” urging Chan and Zuckerberg to “consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language that harms people or groups of people, especially in our current climate that is grappling with racial injustice”.

“Like many, we were disconcerted to see that Facebook has not followed their own policies in regards to President Trump, who has used the Facebook platform to spread both misinformation and incendiary statements,” the first group from CZI wrote.

READ MORE: High-profile leaders respond to US race protests

Chan and Zuckerberg established their foundation to “find new ways to leverage technology, community-driven solutions, and collaboration to accelerate progress in science [and] education” and to promote justice and opportunity across communities.

The signatories of the latest petition said they are “calling for direct action”. The letter closed with a challenge to the couple: “Show us you’re listening. Take decisive action now.”

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