Tag Archives: Diversity and Inclusion

Mentorship inspires Deyrel Diaz and future researchers

During his undergrad, Deyrel Diaz attended a VR hackathon where he tried out an aircraft training demo. While Deyrel, a computer science (CS) student, had experience with 3D modeling and coding, seeing the results in action was all new. “This was the first time I’d seen the two mediums interact on such an immersive level,” he says. “Seeing how this simulation was used for real world training and research...I wanted to be a part of that.” Today, Deyrel is a PhD student studying Human-Centered Computing at Clemson University with a focus on mixed reality (AR/VR) research. He’s also a graduate of the most recent class of the CS Research Mentorship Program (CSRMP), one initiative by Google Research to support students from historically marginalized groups (HMGs) in computing research pathways. 

Recognizing that the work CS Researchers are doing has broad implications for billions of people across the globe, CSRMP aims to ensure that the community of researchers represents the experiences, perspectives, concerns and creative enthusiasm of all the people of the world, by supporting the pursuit of computing research for undergraduate and graduate students from HMGs through mentorship, peer networking and career exploration.

In June, CSRMP graduated a class of 281 students from 110 universities across the United States and Canada. We spoke with Deyrel to learn more about his experience and plans for his journey in computing research. Here’s what he had to say:

What motivated you to participate in CSRMP?

Through programs and conferences, I learned just how important it is to have representation in the development and design of technology. When I read about CSRMP, I saw the opportunity to not only help expand that community by connecting with other professionals in the field, but to also learn alongside some of the best and brightest students from around the world.

How has CSRMP influenced your research journey?

The pod meetings influenced my journey the most. I was able to build relationships with other phenomenal student researchers and my CSRMP mentor. We discussed the challenges we face while conducting computing research, and we shared lots of helpful tools and resources. These meetings were also a place to find inspiration and motivation, and helped me learn about other career fields, which I might incorporate into my future research.

What are you proudest of?

I’m proudest of winning two national fellowships that will fully fund my PhD studies. The support system my mentors created for me really helped guide me in the right direction, so it’s thanks to this strong mentorship I was able to accomplish this. Plus, having these fellowships gave me the time to take part in programs where I can mentor other up-and-coming underrepresented students and expose them to not only computing research, but graduate school in general.

What advice do you have for students like you who are curious about starting their journeys as researchers in computing?

The field of computer science touches anything and everything, and if there’s something it hasn’t, you could be the person who makes it happen. That said, there’s no reason for you to pursue something you don’t love, so seek out professors, hack-a-thons, demos or certificate programs to learn more about different fields and how you can use them in personal projects. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do, just start tinkering and create something you’d have fun using.

Congratulations to all of the students who graduated from the CS Research Mentorship Program in the first half of 2021! We look forward to supporting future students who are taking computing research by storm like Deyrel Diaz. Applications are now open for the September 2021 mentorship cycle – apply by July 28, 2021.

Season 3 of the ‘Founded’ podcast is here

In October 2020, Women Techmakers, in collaboration with Google for Startups, launched Founded, a podcast highlighting women entrepreneurs from all over the world. This week, the series returns with six new episodes, sharing advice and experiences from women who’ve lived the entrepreneurial journey. Ahead of the new season, we took time to chat with one of our podcast interviewees, Lateesha Thomas.

Headshot of Lateesha Thomas, Founder of Onramp

Lateesha Thomas, Founder of Onramp

What were you doing before launching Onramp?

I spent several years working in the coding bootcamp industry, where I saw thousands of graduates complete intensive programs with the promise of a new career at the end of that journey. But I learned that even if candidates managed to acquire a baseline set of technical skills that should give them a competitive edge in the job market, they still faced significant bias due to hiring practices in the industry. Companies have spent years scaling traditional hiring methods like industry and university recruiting, and those processes filter out a lot of capable candidates from non-traditional backgrounds. And  it's within these non-traditional pipelines where more diverse candidates can be found. 

I realized that if we wanted to make meaningful inroads on this problem, we needed to build the bridge backward from the company to the candidates and encourage businesses to invest in workforce development and candidate upskilling. My co-founder and I saw a gap in the market, so we decided to fill it.

Tell us more about Onramp.

Onramp is a workforce development platform connecting companies, candidates and employees and education providers more holistically. We grow talent pools and onboard candidates for companies while also increasing the racial and gender diversity of those talent pools by helping underrepresented candidates be more competitive in the recruiting process. We're not the first to say this, but the diversity pipeline problem truly is a myth. We've seen the depth of diverse talent, and we know access to opportunities grows when there’s a willingness to maximize the potential of these candidates. So the solution isn't as simple as "let's find more Black, Latinx, Women, Non-Binary, etc., candidates and teach them to code," it's fixing broken hiring processes that lock the door to candidates who have the skills. 

How can we elevate the voices of women founders? 

Storytelling is a great way to introduce new ideas to people. Sharing my story on the Founded podcast will hopefully show other women who are thinking of launching products or businesses that it can be done. I don't have the pedigree of most successful founders. I didn't learn to code at an early age and hack and tinker for fun. I didn't study computer science in college. I didn't go to Harvard or Stanford business school. My resume isn't stacked with name-brand tech companies or startups to give me credibility. I worked hard to carve a niche for myself in an industry that spoke to my personal experience and built something to solve a problem I personally experienced. And now I run a venture-backed company. I think it's important for aspiring entrepreneurs to know that there's no one right way to start this journey and that there's a path for them if they're willing to do the work to pave it.

What more needs to be done to level the playing field for women founders? 

Funding. Only2.3% of venture capital (VC) funding went to women-founded companies in 2020, a decrease from the previous year. Things are getting worse, not better. Black founders receive around 1% of VC funding, and as you can imagine being at the intersection of those two groups, things are abysmal. I think everyone wants to talk about progress, and don't get me wrong, there are definitely exciting things happening for Black and women founders. But we're still pushing a boulder up a mountain, and it's exhausting.

What advice do you have for founders?

I think the sooner you can tap into a community to support you on your journey, the easier it will be for you. Whether that's a social network like Elpha or Hello Alice or an accelerator program (we did the Bridge to Success program with Juvo Ventures last winter, another Black/women-led VC), you need somewhere to go for advice, resources, mentorship and commiseration. 

You can hear more from Lateesha in the latest series of Founded on Google Podcasts or wherever you listen.

Mary Two-Axe Earley’s fight for equality changed Canada

Editor’s note: This post is guest-written by Kanien’keháka (Mohawk) filmmaker Courtney Montour. She is the writer and director of “Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again.” Today, the Google Canada homepage Doodle honors Mary Two-Axe Earley, a Kanien’keháka (Mohawk) woman who fought for more than two decades to challenge sex discrimination against First Nations women embedded in Canada’s Indian Act. The Doodle was created by Kanien’keháka (Mohawk) guest artist Star Horn. This post has also been translated into Mohawk.

Mary Two-Axe Earley is a name I grew up always knowing. We are both Kanien’keháka (Mohawk) from Kahnà:wake, located across the river from Montreal, Quebec. I was a teenager when Mary passed away in 1996, too young to fully grasp the impact she had on people’s lives across Canada. I set out to make “Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again” to bring attention to a pivotal figure who is often overlooked in accounts of this country’s history.  

Mary fought for more than two decades to challenge sex discrimination against First Nations women in Canada’s Indian Act and became a key figure in Canada’s women’s rights movement. The Indian Act of 1876 defines who is an “Indian” and who can belong to an “Indian band” (now referred to as First Nations). The federal government targeted First Nations women, stripping them of their Indian status (their recognition as an Indian) if they married a non-Indian man. These laws banned First Nations women and their children who lost their status from living in their communities, denying them access to critical social programs and voting rights in their community, and severing their ties to identity and culture. Thousands of First Nations women affected by this legislation are still waiting to be recognized by Canada. 

Video of Courtney Montour describing her new documentary on Mary Two-Axe Earley.

Mary garnered the support of influential political figures and women’s rights activists. She led with love, compassion and persistence, something that I see so many of our women carrying with them as they continue this crucial work for sex equality.

Photo showing a group of women gathered around a tree at a planting ceremony.

Mary Two-Axe Earley (centre) at the Montreal Botanical Garden tree planting ceremony (mid-1970s). Photo courtesy of Rosemary Two Rivers.

Making “Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again” was a four-year journey that connected me with Mary’s supporters from across the country. I quickly realized that the biggest challenge would be finding audio and visual archives. I was saddened and frustrated to discover that so few images from Mary’s well-documented, more than 20-year fight remained in Canada’s media and archival institutions. This instilled a sense of urgency to bring Mary’s story to the screen for the very first time even more. 

Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, who mentored me on my short doc “Flat Rocks,” gifted me audio recordings she taped with Mary over several months in 1984. They were recorded in Mary’s home, around the kitchen table, where Mary’s advocacy began. They are the roots of the documentary, allowing Mary to tell her story in her own words. 

Mary Two-Axe Earley sits next to former Premier Rene Levesque at a desk with microphones on it.

 Mary Two-Axe Earley with René Lévesque, Premier of Quebec, at the First Ministers’ Conference on Aboriginal Constitutional Matters, Ottawa (1983). Photo courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.

The film chronicles some of the results of Mary’s work. On June 28, 1985, nearly two decades after Mary began her fight against sex discrimination in the Indian Act, the Parliament of Canada passed Bill C-31, an amendment to restore Indian status to women who had lost it through marriage. The Bill was effective April 17, 1985. And the movement for sex equality continues today: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) cited sex discrimination in the Indian Act as a root cause of violence and discrimination faced by First Nations women in Canada.

As National Indigenous History Month in Canada draws to a close, Canadians and Indigenous communities are grappling with Canada’s failure to properly acknowledge the historical and ongoing genocide of Indigenous Peoples in this country. At the end of May, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation found the remains of 215 children who had been buried in unmarked graves at the site of a former Indian residential school in British Columbia. And searches are being done at other former residential schools. A week later, the Government of Canada released the long-awaited National Action Plan to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. Critics say the government’s plan lacks tangible goals, a detailed timeframe and budget. 

I’m reminded of a moment in the film when Mary reflects on the first time she spoke out, at the 1968 Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Ottawa. She worried about the consequences of doing so — of potentially being forced to leave her home and her community. But Mary pushed ahead. She secretly organized and hid on a bus full of women to travel to the Royal Commission. Mary was leading a movement. “In ’68, nobody dare say anything against the Indian Act,” said Mary.

Today we honor the legacy of Mary Two-Axe Earley and all the women who continue to demand sex equality for First Nations women and their children. Her work still has an impact on our lives today, inspiring us to speak out against these injustices and to collectively uplift First Nations women. Mary  shows us that our history matters, our women matter and our families matter.

“Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again” is produced and distributed by the National Film Board of Canada and is currently screening on the film festival circuit. In December 2021, the film will be available for educators and teachers via CAMPUS, as well as for community screenings across Canada and  will be launched on NFB.ca/ONF.ca for free streaming across Canada in June 2022. Watch the trailer now on the National Film Board of Canada's website, where you can also find more information on CAMPUS. To book a community screening, please contact Donna Cowan at [email protected]

Òn:wa wenhniserá:te' Kanien'kehá:ka karáhstha' Star Horn ioráhston ne Koráhne aó:wen Google Doodle. Wa'tiakononhwerá:ton' ki' ne Mary Two-Axe Earley. Ehtà:ke tiakoká:raton ne Courtney Montour, Kanien'kehá:ka Teióia'ks Iakón:nis. "Mary Two-Axe Earley: Skonkwehón:we Á:re" iakohiá:ton tánon' tiakoniarotáhrhon.

Shontonkwatehiahróntie' shikhehsennaienté:ri ne Mary Two-Axe Earley. Teiakenitsá:ron Kanien'kehá:ka na'teiakeniia'tò:ten' tánon' Kahnawà:ke iontiatehià:ron, ísi' na'kaniatará:ti Tiohtià:ke tkaná:taien. Tióhton iawén:re tewen'niáwe tánon' tióhton niwáhsen ià:ia'k shiiohseratátie' sha'ontóhetste' ne Mary, tánon' nì:'i shitià:tase'. Iah ki' ní: thiewákhe' tó: niió:re' tsi ionkhiia'takéhnhen ne Koráhne. Né: ká:ti' wa'katerihwahténtia'te' ákhsa' kí:ken teióia'ks "Mary Two-Axe Earley: Skonkwehón:we Á:re". Wà:kehrek aonsakerihó:wanahte' tsi niiehsennowá:nen, nè:'e tsi iotkà:te' enhon'nikonhrón:ni' tsi iah thahatiká:raton' tsi niiakoié:ren nó:nen enhatiká:raton' tsi nitiawénhseron ne Koráhne.

Skáhere' ne tewáhsen niiohserá:ke ieiakorihwà:re' ne takaténionke' ne Indian Act kaianerénhsera' né: tsi kà:ron nitionáttehkwe' ne konnón:kwe tsi ní:ioht ne ronnón:kwe ne kaianerenhserá:kon. Tho ki' nontá:we' tsi wa'éhente' ne Koráhne tsi kontirihwáia'ks ne konnón:kwe aotiianerenhsera'shòn:'a aorihwà:ke. Indian Act sha'té:kon iawén:re tewen'niáwe tánon' tsá:ta niwáhsen ià:ia'k nikaianerenhserò:ten' tewanónhtons ónhka onkwehón:we enkénhake' (indian iontatena'tónhkwen) tánon' ónhka enwá:ton' eniontià:taren' ne onkwehón:we raotinakerahserá:kon (Indian Band rotina'tónhkwen). Kakoráhsera' wahshakotiia'tará:ko' ne konnonkwehón:we ne ahshakotiianerenhseráhkhwa' tóka' ahotiniákonke' ne iah tehonnonkwehón:we. Kaianerénhsera' wa'akóhnhe'se' ne konwatiianerenhseráhkhwen konnonkwehón:we tánon' akotiien'okòn:'a ne raonatená:takon ahatinákereke', ahotiia'takehnhahtsheraientà:seronke' tánon' ne akontatshennarà:na' tsi tehonnitiohkwakénnie's. Wa'akó:ia'khse' tsi nahò:ten' ionatstáhkwen ne konnonkwehón:we akontatena'tónhkhwake', tánon' wa'akóhkhwa' tsi niiotirihò:ten'. Tewen'niawe'ékhon tsi nikón:ti ne konnonkwehón:we shé:kon kaianerénhsera' kahsnonhsó:kon tkontiia'tò:ron tánon' iotihrhá:re' ne aonsahshakotiianerenhserawíhon' ne Kakoráhsera'. 

É:so iá:kon ne iekó:ra tánon' ierihwáia'ks ne konnón:kwe aotirihwà:ke wa'tkonwatihswanéta' ne Mary. Akwáhs kanoronhkhwahtsherá:kon, atennitenrahtsherá:kon tánon' atkontahkwahtsherá:kon ienenhrí:neskwe'. É:so kón:ti ne konnón:kwe khé:kens ne tho sha'teiotiierenhátie' tsi iotiio'tátie' ne kaianerenhserá:kon sha'taonsahonátteke' ne konnón:kwe tánon' ronnón:kwe. 

Kaié:ri niiohserá:ke wakón:ni' ne "Mary Two Axe-Earley: Skonkwehón:we Á:re". Kwah shikón:ni é:so iá:kon ne tekonwatihswanéten ne Mary wa'tiakwatatientéhrha'ne'. Kanakerahserakwé:kon nitiakawenónhseron. Óksa'k wa'kattokáhstsi' tsi né: aonhà:'a entewakentó:ra'se' ne thé:nen iakowennáten tóka' ni' ieia'tarónnion aketshenrión:ko' tsi iontahkwenniaientahkhwa'kó:wa. Onke'nikonhraksà:ten' tánon' onkena'kón:ni' tsi iah é:so tetká:ien ne Mary ieia'tarónnion ne Koráhne tsi iontahkwenniaientahkhwa'kó:wa's ne tká:ra's tánon' ón:kwe ieia'tarónnion. Arohátien tsi kwah tewáhsen niiohserá:ke shakotíhseron tánon' shakoti'nikonhrarátie'skwe'. Thó:ner ki' é:so tsi wa'tewakhsteríha'te' ne aontontié:renhte' taióia'ke' ne Mary akoká:ra'.

Abenaki ionkwehón:we Alanis Obomsawin tetewakerihwahsnie'séhahkwe' shikón:ni ne "Flat Rocks" teióia'ks. Aónha ki' ón:kon' ne Mary iakowennatárion, né: ne tióhton iawén:re tewen'niáwe tánon' sha'té:kon niwáhsen kaié:ri shiiohseratátie' wa'akowennáta' tsi iakoká:raton. Mary tsi tiakonónhsote' tsi iekhonnià:tha' atekhwahrahtsherákta iotiwennáten, tsi ki' kwah nón:we Mary taiontáhsawen' aierihwaia'ákhseke'. Ohtehra'shòn:'a ne thí:ken akokara'shòn:'a, ón:ton' aionkhikaratón:hahse' ne Mary teióia'ks nón:we.

Teióia'ks oh niioieránion ne Mary akoio'ténhsera'. Tewáhsen niiohserá:ke iakorihwáien, ieiakorihwà:re' ne sha'taonsahonátteke' ne ronnón:kwe tánon' konnón:kwe áse'ken Indian Act iakokèn:ron ne konnonkwehón:we. Sok ki' Ohiarí:ha tewáhsen sha'té:kon shiská:rahkwe' tióhton iawén:re tewen'niáwe tánon' sha'té:kon niwáhsen wísk shiiohserá:te' Kakoráhsera' wahatiianerenhseróhetste' ne' Kaianerénhsera' Aón:ton C-31 (Bill C-31). Iehotiiéhston tehotiténion ne kaianerénhsera', són:ton' ne konnonkwehón:we iotiniá:kon tóka' ni' iotiniakòn:ne aonsaiotiianerenhseraientà:seron'. Shé:kon ki' nòn:wa wenhniseraténion iotiianerenhserahskéhnhen ne konnón:kwe sha'taonsahonátteke' tsi ní:ioht ne ronnón:kwe. Kentióhkwa ne rotirihwisá:kon tánon' rotiri'wanón:ton ne kanakerahserakwé:kon oh niiawèn:'en tsi konwatiia'taié:was tánon' konwanahsehtánion ne konnonkwehón:we tánon' kontiksa'okòn:'a, kí:ken kentióhkwa ohna'kénhaton rotihiá:ton tsi rotirihwatshénrion tsi Indian Act tiorihón:ni tsi konwatikarewahtánions tánon' konwatikenhren'seronniánions ne konnonkwehón:we ne Koráhne nón:we. 

Tsi ó:nen iotenhni'to'kta'onhátie' ne Onkwehón:we Akawenhnì:ta' ne Koráhne, Korahró:non tánon' Onkwehón:we shé:kon tehonatatiénhton ne aonsahontate'nikonhrahserón:ni' áse'ken Kakoráhsera' iah orihwí:io tha'tehatirihwa'serákwas oh nihotiieránion tsi niiohseré:son's tánon' né: ó:ni' tsi thahón:nehre' ahshakonáhton'te' nonkwehón:we nok ahatirihwahtòn:thake' ne onkwehón:we tsi nihotirihò:ten's. Tsi ontenhni'tò:kten' ne Onerahtohkó:wa, tsi Tsonontati'kó:wa (British Columbia) nón:we, tsi rontientáhkhwahkwe' ne ronnonkwehón:we ratiksa'okòn:'a, Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc onkwehón:we sahatihstien'tatshenrión:ko' ne tékeni tewen'niáwe tánon' wísk iawén:re nihá:ti ratiksa'okòn:'a thatiia'tatárion, iah tekentstenhró:ton. Sok ki' tsahià:khsera ohnà:ken, Kakoráhsera' tahónhtka'we' ne kanonión:ni ne oh nenkaié:ren ne tóhsa akonwatikarewahtaniónhseke' ne konnonkwehón:we tánon' kontiksa'okòn:'a. Tsi niiá:kon ne iakohiatonhseraka'én:ion nahò:ten thonahtkà:wen ión:ton tsi iah thiekaié:ri tsi ní:ioht tsi karihwahseronniánion ne ahatirihwaié:rite', kátke eh tho nenkaieránionke' tánon' ka' néntewe' ne ohwísta'. 

Nè:'e ki' sonkwehiahráhkwen' tsi wa'eká:raton' ne Mary néne tiotierénhton sha'onthró:ri' nahò:ten tiakawehtáhkwen tánon' iah teierihwanòn:we'skwe', tióhton iawén:re tewen'niáwe tánon' ià:ia'k niwáhsen sha'té:kon shiiohserá:te' nen' nè:'e ne Royal Commission ne Kanà:tso nonkwá:ti. Teiako'nikonhrhá:rahkwe' oh naiakoia'tawèn: enke' tóka' aiakotatì:'on áse'ken wate'shennaién:tahkwe' ne ahshakotinakerakwáhtonke' tsi tiakotená:taien. Nek tsi sénha'k ia'ontáthreke'. Karihwahsehtòn:ke iakoterihwahseronníhne ne skátne konnonkwehón:we iakoia'takarénie's akontíta' tánon' akontáhsehte' oh naiá:wen'ne' ne Royal Commission nón:we iakón:newe'. Iakonenhrí:nonhkwe' ne Mary. Iaká:wen, "Né: ne tióhton iawén:re tewen'niáwe tánon' ià:ia'k niwáhsen sha'té:kon shiiohserátie', iah ónhka teiakote'nientèn:'en ne aierihwáia'ke' ne Indian Act."

Òn:wa wenhniserá:te' wa'tiethinonhwerá:ton' ne Mary Two-Axe Earley tánon' akwé:kon tsi nikón:ti ne konnón:kwe shé:kon iotiianerenhserahskéhnhen ne sha'taonsahonátteke' ne konnonkwehón:we tánon' akotiien'okòn:'a raotirihwà:ke. Shé:kon ne òn:wa wenhniseraténion ionkwaia'takehnhenhátie' ne tsi ní:kon iakoio'tèn:'en. Shé:kon ieionkhi'nikonhrà:reks ne aietewarihwaia'ákhseke' kí:ken nahò:ten' iah tekarihwakwaríhsion, tánon' ne enskátne aiethi'nikonhrakará:tate' ne konnonkwehón:we. Mary ionkhina'tón:ni tsi káhsta ne onkwakara'shòn:'a tsi nitiawénhseron, kontiia'tanó:ron ne konnonkwehón:we tánon' onkwahwatsire'shòn:'a.

National Film Board of Canada rotíhson tánon' tehonrenià:tha' ne "Mary Two-Axe Earley: Skonkwehón:we Á:re" teióia'ks, nok nó:nen'k teioia'ákhons tsi nón:we tewaterihwahtentia'tánion ne teioia'ksokòn:'a aionterohrókha'. Nó:nen enská:ra'ne' ne Tsothóhrha' 2021, kí:ken teióia'ks enwá:ton' enhotiientà:seron' ne shakotirihonnién:ni, CAMPUS nón:we enwá:ton' ienhonterò:roke', tánon' tsi kanatakè:ron ó:ni' entkarà:seron' ne Koráhne. Ohiarí:ha 2022 NFB.ca/ONF.ca ne Koráhne nón:we entká:ra'ne', iah thé:nen thaiokaraién:take'. Ken'k ní:kon ia'saterò:rok ne https://www.nfb.ca/film/mary-two-axe-earley nón:we. Tóka' enhséhrheke' ne sénha aiesató:kenhse' nahò:ten' ne CAMPUS, https://help.nfb.ca/contact-the-nfb/ nón:we iahá:se'. Tóka' enhséhrheke' ne saná:takon aontaká:ra'ne', Donna Cowan ia'shehiá:ton's ne [email protected] nón:we.

Meet the young women pursuing their dreams with Google’s Code Next

Illustration by  Rose Jaffe

When Cassie Areff was a kid, she enjoyed spending time coding with her dad. "I liked making mini games in Scratch, and then I transitioned into programming my computer to play card games against me." Fast forward to today, Cassie is part of a cohort of students that just completed Google's Code Next, a free computer science education program for Black and Latinx high schoolers. 

We recently took some time to talk to Cassie, as well as two other student engineers — Jelyse Williams and BrookeLynn Acevedo — to learn more about their experiences as coders and their plans for the future.

What is it like being a young woman in coding?

BrookeLynn: It's both isolating and empowering. It can be discouraging to look around and see you’re one of the only women — or the only woman — in the room. As you become more experienced, the number of women around you goes down. But it’s also something I’m proud of. I’m helping to close the gender gap in coding and showing others I’m not afraid to learn, and I hope other women will be inspired to do the same.

Jelyse: Knowing there are so few young women in code inspires me to try to get more young women interested. From every shortcut to every <br> (coded line break), knowing how to code is a fundamental skill. If more young women start to code, more diverse ideas and tools will be introduced that serve us. 

What advice would you give to young women of color who are interested in careers in coding?

BrookeLynn:Don’t hesitate to apply for things you’re interested in — even if you have no experience or if you feel you have “no chance.” There are so many wonderful opportunities with STEM I missed out on because I was afraid to apply.  

I wasn’t going to apply to Code Next because I thought I wasn’t qualified. Look at me now! Applying is scary, especially when you’re in the minority, but you just need to get out there and try. 

Cassie: If you’re thinking about Code Next, join! It’s such an amazing opportunity to meet other students interested in computer science in a supportive environment, and learn things you aren’t usually taught in high school classes. The coaches and mentors are also amazing resources.

Also, never let imposter syndrome prevent you from pursuing something. Don’t underestimate your abilities! Take risks that help you to learn and grow. Find a supportive community in your classes and organizations. Finally, embrace your mistakes and failures because they allow you to improve, and push you to better understand the concepts you’re exploring.

Jelyse:Never give up. In this predominantly white, male field, we are needed. Representation matters, but what you do in this field matters even more. Go change the world in your own way, for the better! 

What are you most proud of?

Jelyse:That I never gave up. When I started Code Next, I was seriously bad at code. It seemed like everyone around me was excelling, and I was not. At first, I didn't know how to voice my dilemmas, but my coaches helped me figure out how to ask for help and understand that we all learn at different paces. 

BrookeLynn: I had never taken a “real” coding class before and had virtually no experience in coding or tech careers beforehand. There were a number of times where I struggled with Code Next and the material provided, but I fought through it and not only did the work, but I did it and understood it. That persistence fills me with pride.

What motivates you? What gets you excited?

Cassie: I’m always excited to learn and problem solve. I love discussing ideas with others, and synthesizing ideas to create solutions. I enjoy doing puzzles, and see code as an outlet to use logic to creatively solve problems.

BrookeLynn: My future is what gets me excited and motivated. There’s nothing more valuable than the present, so I am trying to preserve it while also thinking towards the future. I’m working really hard now so I can build a bright future and am able to pay back all those who have shown me kindness. 

Jelyse: I want to inspire people to do things for the better. Working towards this goal, and hopefully inspiring others to do the same, gets me excited. 

Code Next lit a fire within these young women and helped them advance their coding skills while providing a supportive community. Applications to be part of the next Code Next cohort are open now for any student entering 9-12 grade in the United States.  For more information and to apply, visit Code Next.

Supporting LGBTQ+ spaces on the road to recovery

When I first moved to the United States from India, I visited Chicago’s Northalsted area (also known as “Boystown”), an LGBTQ+ neighborhood. I was still in the process of coming out, and I was amazed to see so many businesses welcoming the LGBTQ+ community and building a space that felt safe. For the first time, I felt comfortable in my skin as a gay man and experienced the feeling of truly belonging.

This past year, LGBTQ+ businesses and service organizations — that are at the heart of LGBTQ+ life — were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. These businesses are more than just bars, restaurants, bookstores, salons or health clinics. They’re places of validation where LGBTQ+ folks are able to gather, find community, commiserate in tough times and celebrate the good times. 

That’s why Google is continuing to show up year-round with dedicated resources to help small and medium-sized businesses — owned by or serving the LGBTQ+ community — on their road to recovery. 

A moving image that starts with the rainbow pride flag (red, orage, yellow, green, blue, purple) and text “Show that your business is LGBTQ friendly on Google”. Next a Google Business Profile page with the rainbow flag and LGBTQ frienldy badge. Last image is the Google logo

New hub for LGBTQ-friendly small businesses and LGBTQ+ business owners

We’re launching a new LGBTQ+ small business resource hub where small business owners can learn about our growing number of product features that help the LGBTQ+ community find safe and welcoming spaces. Businesses like Nos Casa Cafe in Roxbury, Massachusetts and Orhan London Tailoring in London, UK proudly show they are “LGBTQ friendly” on their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps. Others like gc2b, a Black and Latinx transgender-owned company, use Google Ads to reach and help the trans community worldwide.

We’re also connecting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with StartOut, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit organization that helps facilitate mentorship, access to capital and tools to create an equitable playing field for the community. 

Tools and resources for LGBTQ+ business owners 

Our economic opportunity initiative, Grow with Google, is helping LGBTQ+ small businesses, like TomboyX, learn how to use digital tools that can drive business growth. We’re partnering with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the “business voice of the LGBT community,” to provide their network of affiliate chambers with training curriculums and resources that help small businesses adapt, grow and better serve their community. Together over the next year, we’ll deliver more than 100 digital skills workshops for LGBTQ+ small businesses. 

Supporting Black LGBTQ+ founders

StartOut's Pride Economic Impact Index shows that over the last 20 years, "out" LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs in the U.S. raised only about 10% as much funding as their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. This is why Google for Startups is committed to fostering a global startup community that’s diverse and inclusive, leading to more equitable outcomes for underrepresented groups. 

Earlier this month, we announced the second $5 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in the U.S., which was created to spur economic opportunity for Black entrepreneurs who are consistently locked out of access to capital. StartOut is nominating founders from their community to receive up to $100,000 non-dilutive cash investments, in addition to other benefits like free access to Google products and mentorship.

A group of seven racially diverse and gender expansive people stand together lovingly in front of a red and white mural at Junior High.

Space to belong

In January 2020, before COVID-19 spread worldwide, U.S. search interest for “lgbt friendly” had reached an all-time high. But by March, search interest for “lgbt friendly” dropped dramatically as the pandemic shut down small businesses and gathering places around the country.

This summer, Google is launching a global campaign to help support and celebrate LGBTQ+ friendly spaces on their road to recovery – from queer and trans owned auto repair shops to historic gay bars and community art centers. You can learn more at our Pride hub: pride.google.

Today I live in the Castro, a neighborhood at the heart of San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ community. Like most people, I have my neighborhood go-tos, a coffee shop where I’m always greeted with a smile and a friendly bark from customers’ dogs that gather outside in the morning. Across the street are other beloved neighborhood restaurants and shops that are LGBTQ+ friendly, many of which were empty or less vibrant during the pandemic. That’s why at Google we feel strongly about supporting LGBTQ+ friendly businesses and safe spaces so that we can build towards a world that fosters belonging for all. 

A safe space that’s made to measure

Finding a safe and welcoming space to create a bespoke outfit can be really challenging, especially when you have your own vision for your wedding day or another special occasion. While traditional tailors are great, they can sometimes fall short for people who don’t want the usual three-piece suit or long trailing dress. 

But luckily, there’s Orhan Kaplan. 

Orhan London Tailoring is an East-London based business that has carved a niche through its bespoke LGBTQ+ tailoring service. Having founded the business with his wife, Denise, Orhan soon discovered a strong unmet demand within the LGBTQ+ community from people who wanted to choose something other than a standard wedding dress. Recognising the needs of the community has helped shape their product offering, and celebrating their customers’ individuality has made women’s suits and non-binary tailoring a key part of their business. 

As a tailoring and alterations business, being visible and accessible is fundamental for success. With their Business Profile on Google, casual shoppers who need simple alterations are able to find Orhan London Tailoring easily on Maps, while customers who need extended bookings for bespoke creations are able to swiftly organise appointments. 

However, for more specialised services, such as those for their LGBTQ+ customers, Orhan and his team recognised that an often overlooked community needed something else beyond simply being able to find the business online. They needed an indicator so that LGBTQ+ people would know it’s a safe and welcoming place. 

Becoming active allies

Communicating outwardly that Orhan London Tailoring is a safe space with dedicated service for the LGBTQ+ community has since become a top priority for the business. “We want people to know it’s a safe environment,” says Denise. “We want people to know that we can look after you, we understand your needs, and that we know the sort of things you’re going to ask for.''

Activating the “LGBTQ-friendly” attribute on their Business Profile has allowed Orhan to reassure the community that this is a welcoming environment. Sharing photos on their profile has also become an important part of this relationship, as potential customers are able to see other outfits the team have created for other members of the community. The positive reactions from customers, and a 75% increase in the number of women’s outfits ordered over the last three years, has been a testament to Orhan’s inclusive approach. 

An animation showing a Business Profile on Google Maps on a smartphone screen, showing the LGTBTQ-friendly attribute.

Connecting with the community, with help from Google

The LGBTQ-friendly feature gives businesses like Orhan London Tailoring a way to show potential customers they are inclusive and welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community – something which is more important than ever as businesses reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Stonewall’s 2017 LGBT in Britain research, 1 in 7 LGBTQ+ people report experiencing discrimination because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity when in a shop or department store. With the LGBTQ-friendly attribute, along with other inclusive attributes such “transgender safespace” and “gender-neutral restroom,” businesses are able to visibly signal that they are a safe space to users on Google Search and Maps.

For Joseph Crouch, Marketing Manager at Orhan London tailoring, these small actions are powerful markers to those who are looking for them, and have encouraged more LGBTQ+ customers to come in-store: “It’s these little things that give our customers the confidence to come and make the step.”

Honoring Juneteenth at Google

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, is the oldest commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It marks the day when troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to establish Union authority and ensure that all enslaved people were freed — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. The following year, freed persons in Texas organized the first of what became the annual celebration of “Jubilee Day,” now known as Juneteenth. 

Today, it’s a time for reflection and celebration of Black history and culture. We’re commemorating this day by elevating the voices of Black artists and creators across our products and in our workplace, as well as empowering Black small business owners to thrive.

Celebrating Black artists and creators

Google Doodle with images of parades, music, food and community in decorative ironwork.

Today’s Google Doodle art created by Detroit-based guest artist Rachelle Baker.

Our Juneteenth Doodle, created by Detroit-based guest artist Rachelle Baker, honors the celebration of Juneteenth with images of parades, music, food and community from past and present. It also pays homage to Black artistic contributions by alluding to decorative ironwork, a style which can be found throughout Southern architecture, and which was often forged by enslaved peoples and unrecognized freedmen. 

On Google Play, we’re showcasing apps by Black developers and an interview with Julio Rivera, the founder of Liberate — a meditation app designed to support the Black community. You’ll also find kids books on Black history and culture, plus an interview with Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar on their new book, “You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism” and more.

Showcasing Black historical figures, moments and places

Black-and-white tintype photograph of an African-American woman in 19th century dress standing in front of a fence, taken between 1855-1900

Although this woman’s name has been lost to history, this proud and dynamic portrait suggests a scenario of achievement and accomplishment. Tintype photographs like this one, hosted by the Kinsey African American Art & History Collection, provide a snapshot of one strata of African American life after the end of the Civil War.

On Google Maps, April Hamm, a New Orleans based Local Guide, educator and musician, has curated a list of local historical landmarks and local Black-owned businesses in New Orleans. By visiting historic places in New Orleans — such as Congo Squareand theFree People of Color Museum — and adding information about them to the map, April makes history more accessible and advocates for collective memory. 

You can also learn more about Black historical figures and moments, like Juneteenth, every day with the Google Assistant by simply saying “Hey Google, what happened today in Black history?” from your Assistant-enabled smart speaker, smart display or phone. We worked with renowned civil rights activist, author and lecturer Dr. Carl Mack to raise awareness of many important cultural events and leaders.Together, we hope to celebrate freedom and promote prosperity in Black communities and beyond. 

User on a smartphone asks Google Assistant: Hey Google, what happened today in Black history? Google Assistant responds: On this day in 1865, General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in accordance with President Lincoln’s January 1, 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. The order freed those Black people still enslaved in Galveston, Texas. This day has come to be known as Juneteenth. Six months after Juneteenth, slavery was still legal in the U.S. and nearly 225,000 Black remained enslaved in Kentucky and Delaware. Slavery was officially abolished in the U.S. with the ratification of the 13th Admendment by Georgia on December 6, 1865.

Today The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection is sharing the history of the holiday and portraits of newly-freed men and women on the Google Arts & Culture platform. The Greenwood Art Project is also debuting an artistic exploration of Juneteenth on the platform to highlight the spirit of freedom and what that means today in the wake of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Supporting Black small businesses 

Grow with Google Digital Coaches, a program that has provided digital skills training and coaching for more than 60,000 Black and Latinx small businesses, will host four live training sessions on its social media account sharing insights and tips to help Black-owned businesses thrive. Digital Coaches from New Orleans, Washington DC, St. Louis and Cleveland — who are Black business owners themselves — will address questions they often hear from small business owners related to websites, analytics, and more.

Creating space for our employees to reflect, learn and celebrate 

We know it’s important to give our employees space and time to reflect, learn and celebrate Juneteenth. So for the second year in a row, we instituted a no-meetings day for Googlers on Friday, June 18 and hosted a two-hour event, in partnership with our Black Googler Network, spotlighting music, history and storytelling. The event included a virtual sit-down with Ms. Erykah Badu, who spoke about her music, racial justice and her experiences as a Black woman growing up in Texas, where Juneteenth began, followed by a musical performance. 

As a company, we’re proud to recognize this day across our products and in our workplace. And, as we celebrate Juneteenth this year, my hope is that everyone continues to celebrate and recognize Black liberation on this day and beyond.

$50 million for HBCUs to address the diversity gap in tech

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have stood as pillars of excellence for more than 180 years and continue to serve as havens for Black students in pursuit of higher education. Founded to provide Black Americans with a fundamental human right — the access to a full education, they have grown to produce some of the greatest leaders, thinkers and cultural influencers of our time. These institutions are actively shaping the next generation of Black leaders and are helping build a more diverse workforce across all industries, including tech. In fact, 25% of African American graduates with STEM degrees come from HBCUs. 

Despite the success of HBCUs, Black professionals continue to be underrepresented across the tech industry. We want to do our part to support these institutions as we work to help close the gap, together. Today, I’m proud to announce a $50 million grant to 10 HBCUs that will help support scholarships, invest in technical infrastructure for in-class and remote learning, and develop curriculum and career support programs. 

Here’s a look at what our HBCU partners had to say about the grant and how it will help them:

This financial commitment is our largest to date for HBCUs. Each institution will receive a one-time unrestricted financial grant of $5 million, providing institutions with the flexibility to invest in their communities and the future workforce as they see fit. 

Today’s grant follows a lot of work in the last several years to support HBCUs, including our Pathways to Tech initiative. These initiatives are designed to build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and provide opportunities to accelerate their careers.

Logos for Claflin University (SC), Clark Atlanta University (GA), Florida A&M University (FL), Howard University (DC), Morgan State University (MD), NC A&T State University (NC), Prairie View A&M University (TX), Spelman College (GA), Tuskegee University (AL), Xavier University (LA), UNCF and Thurgood Marshall College Fund

This grant further solidifies our commitment to providing access and opportunities for underrepresented groups in tech. We’ll continue to partner closely with HBCUs to achieve this shared goal.

Our racial equity commitments, one year later

One year ago today, we announced commitments to build sustainable equity for Google’s Black community and beyond, and make our products and programs more helpful to Black users. Since then, we've been working to translate our commitments into lasting meaningful change. Today we’re sharing more updates on our progress.

We’re announcing a $50 million grant to Historically Black Colleges and Universities to broaden access to opportunities for underrepresented groups in STEM, and an update on the more than $320 million we’ve committed to organizations working to address racial inequities over the past year. In our own workplace, we’re sharing progress on how we’re hiring in key growth sites like Atlanta and D.C., and our new onboarding pilot for Black Googlers. And in our products, we’re launching a new Marketing Toolkit and making improvements to our Pixel camera to ensure the Black community is represented in our work.

Creating equity in our workplace

2020 was our largest year ever for hiring Black+ Googlers in the U.S. — both overall, and in tech roles. We’re on track to meet our goals to improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30 percent by 2025 and more than double the number of Black Googlers at all other levels by 2025.

We're also investing in growing Atlanta, Chicago, New York and DC — locations that we’ve heard from our Black+ Googlers contribute to a high quality of life. In 2021 so far, we've grown these sites by more than 650 employees. We’re on track to meet our goals of 1,000 in 2021 and 10,000 by the end of 2025. 

We continue to invest in programming that helps Googlers grow and thrive at Google. This month we launched a new onboarding pilot, which offers tailored content to support Black employees as they begin their Google career. We plan to roll the program out globally by the end of the year. 

Working in close consultation with our Black employees, last year we introduced a student loan repayment program to help Googlers build more financial stability over the long term, since we know that student loan debt disproportionately affects women and communities of color. To date, we’ve paid out $3 million in student loan repayment matches. 

Work related to education 

We’re proud to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to broaden access to higher education and opportunities in tech. Today we’re announcing a new $50 million unrestricted grant to 10 HBCUs that will help them support scholarships, invest in technology for classrooms, and develop curriculum and career readiness. Each institution will receive a one-time unrestricted financial grant of $5 million, providing institutions with the flexibility to invest in their communities and the future workforce as they see fit. 

This commitment builds on our Pathways to Tech initiative, which is designed to build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and ensure that Black employees have growth opportunities and feel included at work.

Building products and tools for change

As a part of our ongoing commitment to product inclusion, we’re working to make technology more accessible and equitable. Over the last year we've launched a number of important features including a Black-owned business attribute on Maps, Assistant responses on Black Lives Matter, and ways marketers can support Black-owned publishers in Display & Video 360. 

Another example is our recent efforts to build a more equitable camera, where we partnered with 17 professional image makers to make changes to our computational photo algorithms to address long-standing issues with how digital cameras represent Black people in photos. This includes auto balance adjustments to bring out natural brown tones and prevent over-brightening and desaturation of darker skin tones. We’re working to bring these changes to Google Pixel later this year.  

And earlier today, we made our inclusive marketing toolkit available to all marketers. This toolkit has helped us make improvements to how the Black community is represented in our work, and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned with the industry.

Helping create economic opportunity and furthering social justice

Over the past year, we’ve committed more than $320 million to organizations working to address racial inequities. This includes grants to racial and social justice organizations, and support for job skilling initiatives, small business and startups. Here are some examples of what we’ve done so far:

To continue the work, we recently launched a second $5 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in the U.S. and announced the 30 founders who would be receiving up to $100,000 in non-dilutive funding from Google for Startup’s $2 million Europe focused fund.

We also support Black media and creators. For example, in 2020, we advertised across more than 60 Black-owned media properties as part of our U.S. media spend and will increase our spend on Black-owned media by 4X this year. Here’s a sample of some other initiatives from the last year:

  • The Google News Initiative (GNI) launched the Ad Transformation Lab: a multi-month program to help Black and Latino news publishers in the U.S. and Canada advance their advertising strategies and grow digital revenue, in partnership with Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr., President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) as well as the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) and the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP).  Learning from the success stories of the Ad Transformation Lab, we’ll continue to collaborate with AAN, NAHP and NNPA to launch new business-oriented Labs in coming months. 
  • In May 2021, we created the Google News Initiative Student Fellowship program to help develop and support diverse, up-and-coming news and media talent that are interested in careers at the intersection of technology, media and journalism. Applications for the Fellowship are open until June 21, 2021. 

  • Last October, we announced the $100 million #YouTubeBlackVoices Fund, which has provided funding, training and support from YouTube to help 132 creators and artists from around the world to help grow their audience and build thriving businesses. We’ll open up applications for the  Class of 2022 on June 21, 2021. 

We know there’s more to be done, so we’ll continue to make sure our workplace and products are equitable and representative. I look forward to sharing more updates as this important work moves forward.

All In: Our inclusive marketing toolkit

Four years ago, our Chief Marketing Officer, Lorraine Twohill, asked my team to better understand how well we were reflecting the world in our marketing. Since then, we’ve been on a mission to ensure we take inclusion into consideration at every stage of each story we tell. As a Black and gay man who rarely saw myself reflected in media growing up, I know personally the potential impact this could have on others.

When we started to study how inclusive our marketing actually was, we uncovered trends showing some groups of people being left out or misrepresented. For example, women had less speaking time, we too often portrayed Black people in overused roles like playing sports or dancing, and Latinos and people with disabilities were severely underrepresented in our work. This audit data prompted us to reach out to external inclusion experts and survey consumers to build a set of resources and principles to guide our work.

We began to apply what we learned to our own campaigns and creative process. We used this research as the basis for a workshop that, since 2017, has been required for all Googlers who work in marketing and for our external agency partners. And to make sure we had a variety of perspectives contributing to our work, we created an inclusive marketing panel of more than 90 Googlers in marketing who represent a wide range of backgrounds and have provided feedback on more than 300 Google campaigns.

We saw how helpful this work was internally, so we shared it with over 600 agency and industry partners to get their feedback. Now we are sharing All In, our inclusive marketing toolkit that includes the full breadth of resources we’ve compiled over the past several years, with everyone so that we can all accelerate our progress as an industry. In this toolkit, you’ll find what we’ve learned so far about:

  1. Building the right team:Practical advice on how to hire and empower underrepresented talent in your team and partners so your ideas benefit from a variety of perspectives. 

  2. Making inclusive strategic and creative choices:Tools to help you make inclusive choices throughout the marketing and creative process, from defining your audience and media strategy to brief making to writing a script or social copy.

  3. Holding each other accountable:Ways to set goals and measure your progress, through representation audits and creative targets, to ensure your work is on the right track.

  4. Eliminating stereotypes in marketing:An expansive set of U.S.-focused audience guides co-created with groups like ADCOLOR, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, GLAAD, Disability:IN, and many more to help ensure historically underrepresented demographic groups are authentically and positively represented. 

We are proud to partner with the key industry bodies 4A’s, ANA and Ad Council who have reviewed and endorsed All In. Whether you’re a strategist, creative, producer or brand manager, we hope you’ll find these initial resources useful, and we look forward to expanding these insights to more global audiences in the future.

Inclusive marketing is not only our responsibility, but an opportunity. Not just for Google, but for any company that wants to make a positive contribution to how we see ourselves and treat each other. By eliminating harmful stereotypes and portraying historically underrepresented communities, we have a chance to reach and deepen relationships with both new and existing users. We are still just getting started. In creating this site, and through our collaboration with our partners, we know we can do even more to improve representation and belonging in our work and in our workplace. But to create work that authentically reflects the world – we need to be all in.