Tag Archives: Diversity and Inclusion

New ways to support Black-owned businesses

While working as an Entrepreneur-in-residence at Google from 2014 to 2016, I traveled across the country to help enhance the online presence of hundreds of Black-owned businesses. As a Black woman, entrepreneur and Googler, supporting Black-owned businesses and Black founders is my passion.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a surge in online searches for Black-owned businesses. It’s been inspiring to witness so many people look for ways to invest in the Black community. Now, we’re announcing three new ways to help support Black business owners. 

Starting today, merchants in the U.S. with a verified Business Profile on Google can add a Black-owned business attribute to their profile, making it easier for customers to find and support them. As part of our $300 million commitment to support underrepresented entrepreneurs, we’re also integrating the attribute into the digital skills training programs we offer Black business owners through Grow with Google Digital Coaches. And through Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders, we’re starting our work with the first cohort of 12 startups. 

Making Search and Maps more inclusive

With this attribute, our goal is to make Search and Maps more inclusive and help support Black-owned businesses when they need it most. 

“Everyone who comes into this store is welcome,” says Janet Jones, founder and co-owner of the Detroit-based Source Booksellers. “For us, being Black-owned means serving the community we’re in.” 

By adding the attribute, people using Google Search and Maps can see Source Booksellers is Black-owned, and easily extend their support by purchasing one of their products, leaving a great review and sharing their Business Profile with others looking for their next book. 

BoBA Mobile UI Pop-Up.png

Identity attributes are featured on merchants' Business Profiles when they opt in

To help get the word out about the new Black-owned attribute, we’ve partnered with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC). With 145 Black Chambers of Commerce and 326,000 members across the country, USBC provides leadership and advocacy to empower Black business owners through resources and initiatives. Together, Google and USBC will provide training for Black-owned businesses to enhance their presence on Google through the use of digital tools like Google My Business and Google Analytics. Our hope is that by partnering with USBC, we can help more businesses connect with their community and customers.

Reaching more businesses with digital skills training

We’re also adding the Black-owned business attribute to the training curriculum offered through the Grow with Google Digital Coaches program. Since 2017, Digital Coaches have offered free mentorship, networking, and workshop opportunities to Black and Latinx businesses in 11 cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit. And the program is growing: Last month, we announced an expansion to Birmingham, Alabama, Memphis, Tennessee and Cleveland, Ohio, as well as a commitment to train more than 50,000 Black owned small businesses. 

Introducing the first class of Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders

Through Google for Startups, we’re also expanding ways to support Black entrepreneurs who are using technology to address so many of today’s biggest challenges. Today, we’re announcing the inaugural class of the Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders with 12 high potential Seed to Series A tech startups based in the U.S. 


Inaugural class of the Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders

The class includes entrepreneurs like Guy Asaad, founder of Clerkie, a business designed to help Americans get out of debt. It also includes Melvin Hine, founder of Upswing, which is dedicated to improving the online education system, and Ashley Edwards, founder of MindRight Health which provides digital mental health services for young people. Starting next month, these 12 founders will receive training and support from Google and industry experts on technical challenges, business growth, and outside investment opportunities to help them reach the next level.

In my current role as the Head of Google for Startups in the U.S., I have the privilege of continuing to work with Black entrepreneurs. Today’s updates are a part of our company-wide effort to support Black-owned businesses through products and meaningful partnerships. It’s my hope that this attribute and Google’s tools and training can serve as additional resources for Black-owned businesses and the people who support them. 

Our commitment to a more accessible world

Thirty years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed to guarantee people would be protected against discrimination on the basis of disability in all areas of life—such as jobs, education and transportation. Since that milestone moment, there have been huge strides made to make the world more accessible for people with disabilities, from the creation of accessible parking spaces to the broader usage of captioning technology. 

But as the world continues to change, people with disabilities face new challenges. On the anniversary of the ADA, we’re taking a moment to reflect on these issues, as well as share some information about how Google is working to make the world more accessible for all.

Search trends reflect an evolving understanding 

Over the past three decades, the world gained a greater understanding of what disability means, and how disability affects different communities in a myriad of ways. Search trends can shed a light on this emerging understanding. For example:

  • Searches for ableism and ableist language are at an all time high—an encouraging sign for the disability rights movement.

  • In the past month, we’ve noticed an uptick in Google searches around “black mental health,” which hit record highs globally in June. The long-term impact of mental health conditions are often overlooked as a form of disability. And race can have a compounding effect for people with disabilities.  

  • The world is searching disability pride parades at record highs, with the U.K. searching it most, as people continue to celebrate what their disabilities mean to them.

ADA30 Trend

The effect of the global pandemic

The shift to remote life has given some people with disabilities the opportunity to engage more comfortably with work, healthcare, socializing, and culture and social institutions. But COVID-19 has created a set of distinct and profound challenges for people with disabilities, many of whom are more physically isolated and at-risk than ever before. 

Technology can help create learning opportunities, allow for remote work and create connections with loved ones. For example, many people who are Deaf or hard of hearing may rely on lipreading to follow conversations, but facemasks make that virtually impossible. This is evident as searches for clear face mask are at all time highs. With Live Transcribe, an Android app that transcribes conversations in real time, people are able to follow conversations and get the information they need even while wearing masks.

As more learning takes place online, technology is helping make content more accessible. Students and educators around the world who are Deaf or hard of hearing have navigated the transition to distance learning with tools like automatic captions in Google Meet and Google Slides. For people who are blind or low vision, using Talkback braille keyboard, a new keyboard integrated directly into Android, means they can quickly communicate using braille—whether it’s in an email, a text message, or on social media—without additional hardware.

To help provide information for people with disabilities during this time, we created a set of Resources for Vulnerable Communities on our COVID-19 resource hub and accessibility resources for education on Teach from Anywhere. These sites provide expert guidance and support for groups facing higher risks to their safety and wellbeing, including resources for disability and neurodiverse communities, students with disabilities, domestic and sexual violence survivors, and people in recovery. 

Google’s role in creating a more inclusive world

In addition to our technology, we’re committed to using our platforms to raise awareness of these issues and amplify the voices of a diverse range of people with disabilities. This includes true intersectional representation and considering disability and race together in our efforts to create change. For example, when we made our commitments to racial equity, we shared a fully inclusive video that has audio descriptions, captions and talks about how black mental health matters.

Visit our Accessibility stories collection to see stories of how people are using technology in creative ways to make life better for people with disabilities and those around them. As we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we’re even more committed to creating a truly accessible and inclusive world.

A look at art in isolation captured on Pixel

Every industry has been affected by COVID-19, and the art world is no exception. Content creation requires a new level of imagination as many artists figure out how to approach their work within the confines of shelter in place.

Google Pixel’s Creator Labs program, an incubator for photographers and directors launched in Q4 2019, faced these new challenges as well. But the program’s simplicity actually aided the artists. Because Pixel was their primary tool, Creator Labs artists were able to explore ideas that came to them in quarantine, through an unfiltered lens. Given Pixel features like 4K video, Portrait Mode and HDR+, no complicated camera setups or highly produced shoots were necessary. 

Many flipped the camera on themselves, exploring the fluid dynamic between artist and muse. Myles Loftin, an artist based in New York who focuses on themes including identity and marginalized people in his work, dug deeper into exploring the importance of intimacy right now. “Taking self portraits has been one of the main things that has helped me pass the time during the last few months.  I feel like being indoors for so long I've been so much more in tune with myself and my body,” Myles says. “The Pixel makes it easy for me to set up really quickly and take self portraits whenever I want.”


Photo by Myles Loftin

Another artist, who goes by the alias Glassface, took a look at the tension of our new virtual work lives.  “Nothing kills creativity like fear or depression. And often, nothing helps heal and reshape our mental health like creativity itself,” he explains. “Isolation is a tough pill to swallow, but often it breeds incredible work.”


An excerpt from Glassface's work. 

Other artists featured in the project include Mayan Toledano, June Canedo, Joshua Kissi, Tim Kellner, Andrew Thomas Huang and Anthony Prince Leslie. While quarantine certainly changed how they worked, it also inspired them to investigate this era from a new lens. Anthony perhaps best articulated what the process was like: “Work during quarantine has really changed my perspective. I now remember what it feels like to be present—moving at a pace where there is no peripheral blur on my tunnel vision. As a director, I’m inspired by people and their connections to each other. ” 

You can discover more Pixel-made art, including the work of several Pixel Creator Labs artists, on our Pixel Instagram page

New training programs for European and Israeli startups

Starting a successful company is a difficult job for anyone. But because the startup playing field isn’t level, some entrepreneurs have a tougher time than others. Many women and BIPOC founders have comparatively limited access to capital, mentorship, talent and networking opportunities. More than 7 in 8 people working for European startups identify as Caucasian or White, but only 20 percent of founders are women; and 92 percent of funding in 2019 went to all-male teams. Particularly in times of economic downturn like the current crisis, startups facing these challenges could use even more support.


Founders from the Google for Startups Germany community

Google for Startups aims to empower startups and equip founders with the resources they need to solve today's biggest challenges. Today, we’re announcing three new programs that will help European and Israeli startups access Google’s products and experts to grow their businesses, including two programs for founders from underrepresented groups.

Immersion: Black Founders

This program will pair ten Black founders from Europe and Israel with international Google experts to identify and solve their most pressing technical and business challenges, such as implementing machine learning and improving user experience design. The program will provide connections to venture capital funding and investor networks, and offer workshops focused on fundraising, hiring and sales. Apply here.

Immersion: Women Founders

Applications are open for this mentoring and acceleration program that will offer the 12 participating female founders access to a dedicated Google Advisor, in addition to ongoing weekly workshops and skill-building sessions over the course of 12 weeks. In the words of Charlotte Guzzo, founder of Sano Genetics and a Google for Startups UK Residency alumna, “It's a rare opportunity to work with a world-class team of like-minded entrepreneurs and experts from Google and it can really get you places you would not reach on your own.”


Google for Startups Accelerator: Cybersecurity in Malaga, Spain, 2019

Google for Startups Accelerator

We’re looking for 10-12 startups from Europe and Israel that are using technology to solve the challenges we face today, whether in healthcare, education, news reporting, remote working, finance, wellness, food delivery, or B2B/B2C services. The participants will have access to three months of intensive remote support from Google, including workshops and mentoring sessions with Google engineers and external experts, giving them access to Google products and technical expertise. You can find more info and applications here.

With these programs, we’re committed to helping underrepresented founders access a wide range of resources and opportunities, especially during this global crisis. You can learn more and apply on our site.

Four years later, Google’s first Code Next class is graduating

My weekday routine is a balancing act. When I walk to the subway station at six in the morning, it's typically still dark outside. If I'm lucky, I'll snag a seat on the 5 train for the hour-long ride from the Bronx to Manhattan, but most days I'm standing—balancing with one hand on a pole and the other gripping my phone (usually working on something on Google Docs for class at the last minute).

Cindy Hernandez

I'm headed to Yale in the fall!

I’m one of the 54 students that make up Google Code Next’s first graduating class. Code Next, which started in 2015, is a free computer science education program that supports the next generation of Black and Latinx Tech leaders. 

For four years after school and on the weekends, my classmates and I participated in a rigorous curriculum focused on computer science, problem solving and leadership—balancing that on top of our schoolwork. Our coaches from Google, who have lots of different backgrounds (from software engineering to youth development), provided hands-on coding instruction, inspiration, and guidance as we navigate our way through the Code Next program. We have developed websites, applications, and hardware models.

I had never coded before participating in Code Next. I didn’t think it was for me, but my mother pushed me to sign up, so I gave it a try. Looking back on the past four years, I admit, I’m lucky that I listened. During my freshman and sophomore years, I was at Code Next every day, working on projects, even before the assignment was due and often just for fun. 

I work really hard on what I’m passionate about and coding became my passion. One time, we were asked to make a digital ping pong game from scratch—we had to write all of the code ourselves. There were awards for certain categories (like display and ease of use), and I won most of them, if not all. I always remember that moment because I was really proud of myself, bringing the awards to the coaches to show them what we had done.

There was another time when I participated in a coding competition hosted on Google’s campus. It wasn’t affiliated with Code Next, but my coaches still showed up to watch and support me from the sidelines. I ended up winning first place by designing a website from scratch. It  was a huge accomplishment for me. I had never coded before Code Next so to win the competition where everyone is really smart, I thought, “Wow, maybe this is something I’m good at and maybe I can turn this into a career for myself in the future.”

I hope to be a software engineer one day. I dream of going to Japan, learning Japanese and maybe even working there. Until then, I’ll be attending Yale University in the fall—I’m the first person in my family to go to college. 

If it weren’t for all my coaches at Code Next I definitely would not be where I'm at today. It was because of Code Next and the way it was taught that I truly found my passion. Here are a few other proud graduates of Google’s first Code Next class. They’ve shared a bit about themselves, their aspirations and dreams for the future. 

Our commitments to racial equity

Editor’s Note: CEO Sundar Pichai sent the following note to the company today.

Hi everyone, 

Over the past several weeks, violent and racist attacks against the Black community have forced the world to reckon with the structural and systemic racism that Black people have experienced over generations. My own search for answers started within our own walls. Listening to the personal accounts of members of our Black Leadership Advisory Group and our Black+ Googlers has only reinforced for me the reality our Black communities face: one where systemic racism permeates every aspect of life, from interactions with law enforcement, to access to housing and capital, to health care, education, and the workplace.

As a company, and as individuals who came here to build helpful products for everyone, Google commits to translating the energy of this moment into lasting, meaningful change. Today we are announcing a set of concrete commitments to move that work forward: internally, to build sustainable equity for Google’s Black+ community, and externally, to make our products and programs helpful in the moments that matter most to Black users. 

Building sustainable equity

Creating meaningful change starts within our own company. Strengthening our commitment to racial equity and inclusion will help Google build more helpful products for our users and the world. To that end, we’re announcing several commitments to build sustainable equity for our Black+ community. 

First, we’re working to improve Black+ representation at senior levels and committing to a goal to improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30 percent by 2025. To help achieve this, we’ll post senior leadership roles externally as well as internally, and increase our investments in places such as Atlanta, Washington DC, Chicago, and London, where we already have offices. We'll take the same approach across regions, using site and country-specific plans to recruit and hire more underrepresented Googlers in communities where the social infrastructure already supports a sense of belonging and contributes to a better quality of life. 

Second, we’ll do more to address representation challenges and focus on hiring, retention, and promotion at all levels. To help direct that work, I’m establishing a new talent liaison within each product and functional area to mentor and advocate for the progression and retention of Googlers from underrepresented groups. I’m also convening a task force, including senior members of the Black+ community at Google, to develop concrete recommendations and proposals for accountability across all of the areas that affect the Black+ Googler experience, from recruiting and hiring, to performance management, to career progression and retention. I’ve asked the task force to come back with specific proposals (including measurable goals) within 90 days.

Third, we’re working to create a stronger sense of inclusion and belonging for Googlers in general and our Black+ community in particular. Our internal research shows that feelings of belonging are driven by many aspects of our experiences at work, including the psychological safety we feel among our teams, the support of our managers and leaders, equitable people processes, and opportunities to grow and develop our careers. Across all of these dimensions, we’re committed to building more inclusive practices and policies—and revisiting them when we don’t get them right. 

As one example, we’ve had a security practice of Googlers watching for “tailgaters” in order to reduce instances of unauthorized visitors in offices. We have realized this process is susceptible to bias. So, over the past year, our Global Security and Resilience team partnering with a cross-functional working group, conducted extensive research, listened to Black Googlers’ experiences, and developed and tested new security procedures to ensure we could maintain the safety and security of the Google community without relying on this type of enforcement. Now, as we prepare to return to the office, we will end the practice of Googlers badge-checking each other and rely on our already robust security infrastructure.

Fourth, we’ll establish a range of anti-racism educational programs that are global in view and able to scale to all Googlers.We’ll be welcoming external experts into Google to share their expertise on racial history and structural inequities, and start conversations on education, allyship, and self-reflection. And this week we’ve begun piloting a new, multi-series training for Googlers of all levels that explores systemic racism and racial consciousness, to help develop stronger awareness and capacity for creating spaces where everyone feels they belong. We plan to roll out this training globally by early next year. We’ll also integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our mandatory manager trainings.

Fifth, we’re focused on better supporting the mental and physical health and well-being of our Black+ community. For example, over the past year, we’ve worked with our mental health provider in the U.S., to increase their Black network of counselors from 6.6 percent to 9.8 percent. Our global EAP providers are also working to further diversify their network of counselors. Over the next 90 days, our Benefits team will work with the Equity Project Management Office and Black Leadership Advisory Group to identify areas where we could expand our benefits or provide additional support to Googlers and their families. As one example of the kinds of programs that work: we've made the medical second opinion service available to Googlers’ extended family—something that our Black+ community told us was important to supporting a family structure that includes siblings, parents, parents-in-law and grandparents. 

Building products for change

Turning to our external announcements, we want to create products and programs that help Black users in the moments that matter most. Two weeks ago, I put out a call for ideas, and Googlers from all over the world have submitted more than 500 suggestions. We’ve assembled a product task force to prioritize and implement these ideas in partnership with our Black Leadership Advisory Group and members of our Black Googler Network. 

Some activations have already launched, including the Assistant’s responses to questions related to Black Lives Matter and—as of this week—Juneteenth. We're also working quickly to give merchants in the U.S. the option of adding a “Black-owned” business attribute to their Business Profile on Google to help people find and support Black-owned local businesses by using Search and Maps. This opt-in feature is in development and will roll out to Business Profiles in the coming weeks.

Creating products for everyone is a core principle at Google, so our product teams will work to ensure that all users, and particularly Black users, see themselves reflected in our products. In addition, building on YouTube's announcement last week, our Trust and Safety team will work to strengthen our product policies against hate and harassment. 

Helping create economic opportunity

Beyond our products, we know that racial equity is inextricably linked to economic opportunity. So today we are announcing a $175 million+ economic opportunity package to support Black business owners, startup founders, job seekers and developers, in addition to YouTube’s $100 million fund to amplify Black creators and artists. This new commitment includes:

  • $50 million in financing and grants for small businesses, focused on the Black community and in partnership with Opportunity Finance Network. This commitment builds on our recent $125 million Grow with Google Small Business Fund that is helping underserved minority and women-owned small businesses across the U.S.

  • $100 million in funding participation in Black-led capital firms, startups and organizations supporting Black entrepreneurs, including increased investments in Plexo Capital and non-dilutive funding to Black founders in the Google for Startups network.

  • $15 million in training, through partners like the National Urban League, to help Black jobseekers grow their skills. 

  • $10 million+ to help improve the Black community’s access to education, equipment and economic opportunities in our developer ecosystem, and increase equity, representation and inclusion across our developer platforms, including Android, Chrome, Flutter, Firebase, Google Play and more.

Mentorship is also critical to growing networks and successful businesses. Today, we are launching our Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders, a three-month digital accelerator program for high potential Seed to Series A startups and announcing an expansion of our Digital Coaches program to 8 new cities, including Memphis, Birmingham, and Cleveland, to provide 50K Black-owned businesses in the U.S. with the mentorship, networking and training they need to grow.

Improving education

We’re also committing nearly $3 million to help close the racial equity gaps in computer science education and increase Black+ representation in STEM fields. This starts with making sure Black students have access to opportunities early on in their education. To that end, we’re expanding our CS First curriculum to 7,000 more teachers who reach 100,000+ Black students, scaling our Applied Digital Skills program to reach 400,000 Black middle and high school students, and making a $1 million Google.org grant to the DonorsChoose #ISeeMe campaign, to help teachers access materials to make their classrooms more inclusive. 

Beyond the classroom, we’re increasing our exploreCSR awards to 16 more universities to address racial gaps in CS research & academia, and we’re also supporting Black in AI with $250,000 to help increase Black representation in the field of AI. 

These efforts build on our other education initiatives, including CodeNext, focused on cultivating the next generation of Black and Latinx tech leaders, and TechExchange, which partners with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs) to bring students to Google’s campus for four months to learn about topics from product management to machine learning.

Supporting racial justice organizations

We also continue to support organizations working to advance criminal justice reform. Earlier this month, Google.org pledged another $12 million, in addition to the $32 million we’ve already contributed since the Charleston shooting five years ago today. We’re announcing the next round of grants—at $1 million each—to the Leadership Conference Education Fund, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Policing Reform Campaign and the Movement for Black Lives. We’ve also created a public donation page to help raise even more for organizations fighting against racism and inequality. Recognizing that racism is a problem the world over, looking ahead, we will focus on more global solutions, and will be giving grants to local community organizations tackling these issues in Brazil, and across Europe and Africa.

Let me close by simply saying thank you to the many Googlers who have come together to drive these efforts. That includes our Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker and the Employee Engagement team, our Equity Project Management Office working in partnership with our Black Leadership Advisory Group and members of our Black Googler Network, and everyone who has stepped up with ideas on how we can build a better workplace, and, in turn, better products for the world. 


Lessons learned from building an accessible support team

From the earliest stages of product design until the moment we release a product to the public—accessibility is front of mind. But that commitment doesn’t end there. Every day our support teams offer help and advice for people who use our products, and we want to make sure that support is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.  

In 2017, we launched our Disability Support team. The team is available to answer questions about using assistive technology with Google products and the accessibility features and functionalities available within Google products. In our first year we received more than 13,000 inquiries and with each question we learned how to better build a support team that centers around accessibility. 

Today we are launching a playbook of everything that we’ve learned to help other companies and organizations who might be interested in creating their own Disability Support Teams. Here are a few of the key lessons that we learned.

Names matter: “Disability” vs. “Accessibility” 

When naming our team, we had to consider using “disability” or “accessibility” to describe the focus of our work.  Ultimately, we learned that including “disability” made our focus clear. “Disability” is a more widely searched term across the globe, and widely accepted and understood. Making that focus clear helped reduce the number of questions we received that were outside the scope of our team. Before launching the Disability Support team, more than 70 percent of the questions we received were not related to assistive technology or accessibility features. 

Build with and for people with disabilities

When it comes to setting up and staffing a support team, make sure you work with people, organizations and tools that are focused on disabilities. First, we learned that hiring people who personally use assistive technology helps them share better insights because of their own experiences using assistive technology. Community members notice when support agents don’t use assistive technology themselves, even if they can provide the correct answer.

When working with vendors, do your due diligence to identify and partner with experienced vendors. Conduct on-site visits, speak with support agents (without management present), and shadow existing processes. Look for vendors who already have strong inclusive programs in place, such as The Chicago Lighthouse and TELUS International, and partner with organizations like the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) to train support agents. 

Similarly, make sure you use support tools that are accessible. Conduct thorough accessibility testing on your own support channels and tools. Go above standard testing to determine both usability and usefulness and work with your engineering team to prioritize fixes where needed prior to launching your support team. 

Meet people where they are

When we initially launched the team we received less inquiries than expected. We wanted to reach more people in the disability community, so we partnered with established and experienced organizations that could connect us with the communities we were trying to help.  We worked with organizations like Be My Eyes and Connect Direct to spread more awareness about our services within the Blind and Low-vision community and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, respectively. 

Consider cultural differences

In addition to the typical forecast planning (i.e., cost per case, headcount, time zone, languages, etc.), consider cultural differences and the ability to recruit experienced support agents. Consider places that meet all of your requirements in addition to proven positive cultural perception for people with disabilities (i.e., accessibility laws, typical jargon usage, etc.) For example, in the U.S. it is common to use “person-first language” like “person with a disability instead of “disabled person” or “handicapped,” which can be considered offensive. In addition to the U.S. office, the Google Disability Support team is located in Ireland.

The full report is available in view-only PDF and Google Doc.  

Five women, five inspirational stories

Last August, Tan Thi Shu walked onto the stage of the Hanoi Opera House and told her story. Part of Vietnam’s minority Hmong tribe, she’s the founder of Sapa O’Chau: a trekking company that offers tours of the beautiful Sapa region. After initially struggling to find people interested in her service, Shu took Google’s Digital 4.0 training, moved her venture online, and saw business increase, creating income for her local community. Now she’s a trainer herself, passing on the lessons she’s learned to other female entrepreneurs. As Shu says: “One person gives only one result, but if I take someone with me, much more happens."

Shu isn’t just inspiring her fellow Vietnamese entrepreneurs. She’s one of five equally remarkable women whose stories are being shared globally by TED and Women Will, a Grow with Google program that trains women in 48 countries.

Along with Shu Tan, TED’s Pindrop podcast will showcase: 

  • Jenny Doan from the United States, who found an online audience for her quilting tutorials, helping expand her business and the jobs it supports. 

  • Temie Giwa-Tubosun from Nigeria, whose LifeBank nonprofit has decreased delivery time for blood supplies from 24 hours to less than 45 minutes.

  • Renata Alexandra from Brazil, who became the first Krav Maga women instructor in the northeast of the country, and now teaches personal defense to other women.

  • Hatoon Kadi, from Saudi Arabia, who launched a comedy video series called Noon Al Niswa, addressing social issues and encouraging other Arab women to share their stories and experiences.


Supporting women affected by COVID-19

Since its formation in 2014, Women Will and its partners have advocated for more flexible and gender-balanced workplacesand reached more than 36 million women with training.

Today, we’re making Women Will’s programs part of Google’s broader response to COVID-19—moving much of our training online. We’re offering mentoring to small businesses in Brazil, using the internet saathi (or trainer) network to get health information to women in rural India, and expanding our online entrepreneurship and leadership courses. 

We know many women will be disproportionately affected by the impact of the virus, and we want to help them adapt with digital skills and tools. We’ll keep building on these programs in the months ahead, through the recovery from COVID-19 and beyond—so more women like Shu, Hatoon, Renata, Temie and Jenny can thrive, share their experiences, and widen the path for others.

Providing Google.org support to LGBTQ+ organizations worldwide

LGBTQ+ organizations around the world extend critical services to their communities every day. I’ve seen this firsthand in my work on the Google.org team, where I support organizations challenging bias and exclusion to advance social justice. As diverse as the local communities they serve, these organizations create cherished spaces to embrace our intersections and individuality, organize against injustice, and provide access to services. For the most vulnerable LGBTQ+ communities, including Black+ communities experiencing the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 and racial injustice, these spaces and services are essential.

Today Google.org is donating more than $1.2 million to over 70 local LGBTQ+ organizations around the world—many of which are located in cities around the world where Google is proud to call home. Read on to learn how some of these grantees are meeting heightened health, social and economic risks impacting LGBTQ+ communities during this time, providing year round resources and support, and celebrating Pride.

Sheldon Darnell, Austin Black Pride, (Austin, Texas)
Our mission is to transform the living and social environments of LGBTQ+ people of color, with a focus on Black LGBTQ+ individuals. We focus on facilitating culturally-specific programs, policy, advocacy, and relationship building at the intersection of being both Black and LGBTQ+. While, this year, we had to cancel our annual Austin Black Pride celebration, we have been holding mental and spiritual wellness check-ins for our community to connect with licensed and trusted professionals. During a time where our community is on the frontline pushing for justice, it is important that we hold space to check in with ourselves and each other.

Rachel Kesley, Anaya Robinson, Marvyn Allen, Transformative Freedom Fund(Denver, Colorado)
Our mission is to support the authentic selves of transgender Coloradans by removing financial barriers to transition-related healthcare. COVID-19 has acutely impacted our community—gender-affirming surgeries have been rescheduled after years of waiting, and there are increased barriers to accessing necessary medical care or hormones. The isolation from COVID-19 is also particularly difficult because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride March, led by trans women of color, including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major. Though the loss of the march this year is devastating, we’ll engage with our community with unapologetic authenticity—the gift that makes our communities better, stronger and more beautiful.

Dameyon Bonson, Black Rainbow, (Australia)
At Black Rainbow, we provide advocacy and leadership to Indigenous Australians who identify as LGBQTI. We’re a virtual volunteer group with members located across the country. We work to identify, address and alleviate a range of health outcomes in the community, including the prevalence of suicide and non-suicidal self-harm. During this period of increased stress and isolation, we’re strengthening our response through a soon-to-be-circuited Indigenous LGBQTI+ survey related to the effects of COVID-19. The findings from this survey will be shared publicly to bolster the services that Indigenous LGBQTI+ people access.

Khuresha Ally, Pride of Africa(Johannesburg, South Africa)
Pride of Africa exists to liberate every LGBTQ+ African so they can live their most authentic life. One way we do this is hosting Johannesburg Pride, the oldest and biggest annual pride celebration in Africa. Pride is a place where Africans come to feel supported, hopeful, and seen. It also provides access through relevant partnerships for medical services that are often life sustaining for our community. But, right now, as the most reputable LGBTQ+ organization in Africa, we’re raising funds for food and housing accommodation during a time when many in our community are going hungry and losing their jobs due to COVID-19.

Gloria Careaga Pérez, Fundación Arcoiris(Mexico City, Mexico)
We educate and influence stakeholders on the importance of protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ people in Mexico to achieve social justice and equality. In Mexico, there’s widespread discrimination and violence aimed at the LGBTQ+ community—which is why visibility and education are key to our mission of achieving equality. This year, we’re deepening our efforts to fight and report hate crimes and also planning a virtual parade for the city’s 42nd march. Celebrating Pride is an essential part of recognizing our historical struggles, and we’re using the opportunity to expand our reach beyond Mexico City and call for a fairer world for LGBTQ+ people.

Belle Haggett Silverman, Bisexual Resource Center(Boston, Massachusetts)
The BRC provides support to the bisexual+ community and raises public awareness about bisexuality, pansexuality, and other non-monosexual identities. Our office overlooks the plaza in Boston where Pride is held, and it’s tough to think about not celebrating in-person this year. Instead, we’ll engage with our community by holding virtual gatherings. We’re hopeful that even though this Pride will be different, we’ll find ways to be together. Anyone is welcome to send in their short videos honoring Pride, which we’ll share as a bisexual+ pride montage on social media.

Karyn Skultety, Openhouse(San Francisco, California)
At Openhouse, we provide housing, services, and community engagement for LGBTQ+ seniors, who are one of the most at-risk populations for COVID-19, and face detrimental effects from long-term isolation. We’re finding ways to connect these seniors with others, including over 1,000 support calls with every senior who has walked through our door and a socially-distanced drag show for residents to watch from their windows. It was amazing. Like other organizations, our annual Pride activities will look different this year, but we’re keeping important traditions like our intergenerational Trans March, which will be virtual this year.

This year, I will be honoring the tradition of Pride by remembering the Black+ queer leaders who stood up at Stonewall and reflecting on my role in advancing justice today. I hope everyone finds a way to honor Pride that is meaningful to them, representing the traditions, struggles, and joys of their community.

Honoring Pride, in solidarity

In August 1966, trans women, drag queens, and other members of the LGBTQ+ community fought for their rights and fair treatment outside Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. Three years later on June 28, 1969, the LGBTQ+ community, once again, rose up against inequitable treatment and police misconduct at the Stonewall Inn. For both of these historic moments, LGBTQ+ people of color—and in particular Black trans women and trans women of color—helped lead the fight against hate and injustice. In many respects, the modern-day LGBTQ+ movement for equality was born from these rebellious acts and the many events preceding them. 

Pride should still be a protest. For those within the Black+ and LGBTQ+ community—especially Black+ trans women—the injustices we're seeing today are a reminder of past and present struggles for equity, justice, and equality under the law. We believe communities must show up for one another, and we stand in solidarity with the Black+ community across the world, honoring the longstanding Pride tradition of unity. 

We’re focusing on helping local organizations that create change for LGBTQ+ people of color, trans and non-binary communities, LGBTQ+ families, and many more. We’re also expanding access to mental health resources and bringing people together virtually. 

Local love: $1.2 million for LGBTQ+ organizations worldwide 

COVID-19 has shown us that vulnerable communities, including LGBTQ+, too often bear the brunt of any crisis. This means that local LGBTQ+ organizations are serving as a critical safety net for those in need, whether they're helping someone find a bed in a shelter, offering healthcare services, or advocating for more inclusive and equitable policies. Lives depend on these organizations. 

However, LGBTQ+ organizations are now figuring out how to do their work virtually—with increased demand and strapped financing—which is why Google.org is donating $1.2 million to over 70 organizations around the world. These organizations improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the cities where they operate. As the 2020 Pride Committee—a group of LGBTQ+ Googlers from all backgrounds and identities—we’re proud to support organizations in Googlers' hometowns, many of which have influenced our lives or our colleagues’ lives in some way.

An additional $1.2 million for The Trevor Project

In a physically distant world, grappling with inequities, isolation, and challenging situations at home can have devastating effects on LGBTQ+ people, especially those of color. Every year, an estimated 1.8 million LGBTQ+ youth seriously consider suicide in the U.S., and the lifeline, text, and chat crisis services at The Trevor Project—a Google.org grantee—are experiencing their highest demand in 22 years. While Black LGBTQ+ youth have similar mental health disparities compared with all LGBTQ+ youth, they’re significantly less likely to receive professional mental health care, and Black children die by suicide at nearly twice the rate of their white peers. The Trevor Project’s continued targeted outreach to LGBTQ+ Black youth is incredibly important, and the organization offers resources to help allies be more supportive. 

The Trevor Project’s work is life-saving, which is why we’re providing $1.2 million to build on our existing work with them. In addition, a new cohort of Google.org Fellows will help The Trevor Project use natural language processing to automate the moderation of crisis content on its online forums and instruct counselors through a virtual conversation simulator training.

Together, virtually

This year, Pride will feel different for many of us. We’re finding ways to bring people together virtually, including a toolkit that helps organizations host remote Pride events, a collection of apps, shows, movies, and books about LGBTQ+ stories, and a YouTube "spotlight" channel to elevate LGBTQ+ voices. On Google Arts & Culture, you can explore the history of Pride, including new exhibits on the birth of the Pride march, and critical leaders of the movement like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera

While Pride is usually marked by jubilant marches and beautiful parade floats, it’s much more than that. For us, Pride is about the ongoing struggle for equity, visibility and acceptance. We’ll be spending Pride as allies to our Black+ community members, reflecting on the many LGBTQ+ people of color who started our liberation movement decades ago, and finding ways to remedy systemic injustices.