Mobilizing for Racial Justice

Today, on the one year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, we take a moment to reflect on a precious life brutally stolen, dreams unfulfilled, and a family coping without their beloved son, brother, uncle, cousin, and father.  While the ripple effects of devastation, grief, anger, helplessness, and fear emanating from Minneapolis spread across the country and the globe, they also gave rise to an awakening around our country’s deep history of racism, police brutality, and injustice. 

For us at the Kapor Center, an organization whose leadership and staff are primarily people of color and whose mission is focused on racial justice in STEM/CS education, the tech workforce, and entrepreneurship, we were all deeply personally and professionally impacted.  Our collective leadership grew more determined to uproot the systemic stronghold of racism in this country by re-orienting ourselves with precision and passion to fighting anti-blackness and mobilizing for racial justice. 

We collectively launched a 100 Days of Action campaign in August to double-down on educational equity, civic engagement, and economic justice. We deployed $14.9M in capital to tech startups, 13 out of 18 companies we funded from May 2020 to May 2021 had Black or women founders. We deployed $1.44M in support to 30 organizations to mobilize Black and Brown voters. We provided STEM/CS education to 1,600 Black, Latinx, and Indigenous high school and college students through our SMASH program, with 99% of Seniors accepted to college.  We published research on equity in CS education, the Black tech workforce and published calls to action to the tech and venture capital community. We engaged employees, SMASH scholars, and community partners in our SMASHtheVote GOTV efforts, provided election day VTO, and opened our facilities in West Oakland as a polling location.  Our staff marched in solidarity, engaged in deep discussions about multiracial coalition building, and supported our local community organizations and artists. We took time and care to support our employees and portfolio companies with mental health sessions, spaces for Black wellness, and encouraged time off.  And we called upon others to join us in this fight, which we know is only in its beginning stages. 

Today, more than ever, we must continue to demand and fight for real change — for racial justice. Despite a guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin– 3 other officers await trial while we continue to witness Black and Brown people unjustly killed by police. Policy change and accountability has been slow, uneven, and incomplete. And we have seen minimal progress towards racial equity in the technology sector, in which Black representation in tech product creation and investment remains dismal. We cannot let momentum wane, settle for one-time commitments, or marginal, incremental change. Through our programs, our resources, our investments, and our voices, we will continue to dismantle systemic barriers in education, in technology, and in entrepreneurship.  In honor of the life that was robbed from George Floyd, we will continue to fight the good fight and get into good trouble until we achieve a more equitable future.