By Angela Wills
It was only one day after the leak of Mark Zuckerberg’s internal memo, which warned employees to stop crossing out Black Lives Matter slogans, that Facebook hosted greater than 200 African-American students from the San Francisco Bay Area.
This day long trip had been in the plans for weeks as part of Black History Month and was spearheaded by the employee resource group Black@FB and Facebook’s community engagement team.
The trip included a tour of the Menlo Park campus, a career panel, a presentation on Facebook’s recently launched TechPrep program to assist in the growth of the underrepresented people in tech, an informative session on internships, as well as other activities.
Maxine Williams, Facebook Global Director of Diversity says, “When diversity is working well, if you have a system that’s scaling well, there will never be one point of success or failure. So that is our goal. It is a wonderful thing when there is a diversity event and I have nothing to do with it. I had nothing to do with this.”
Williams did launch TechPrep but the community engagement team has since taken it over. Williams added that the program “shouldn’t be owned by the diversity team.” Instead, the program, as well as any other initiatives that are launched by the diversity team, should become deeply rooted throughout Facebook’s teams and overall culture.
A parent and community coordinator at San Francisco Unified School District’s Mission High School, Linda Jordon, accompanied a few students on the visit. Some of the students who attended have interests in graphic design and some already know how to code to Facebook.
Jordan said, “I’m hoping that the students who are present today will realize that the tech industry is not an industry that does not want them.” It is interesting to note that Facebook itself is only represented by a small 2% of black employees.
Moving forward, Jordan says she plans to have conversations with the students about internships, college applications and selecting a course of study for college.
QuinSi Dominguez, a junior from Mission High School, is one of the students who already knows how to code. She expresses interest in a graphic design and marketing career. Dominquez says that she can see herself working at Facebook one day and was extremely excited to learn more about what it would be like to work at such an influential tech company.