Tag Archives: Diversity and Inclusion

A new literacy tool promoting inclusive LGBTQ+ language

Imagine living your truth, but not being able to tell anyone. That was my experience as a young queer person in small-town Alabama. Twenty years ago, nobody, including LGBTQ+ people, had the language we have today to talk about queerness or gender outside the binary. Coded language made it even more difficult to learn about the LGBTQ+ community, much less learn about myself. Even when I felt safe (mostly in anonymous chat rooms), I found it nearly impossible to talk about what I was going through.

It wasn’t until my college professor, Cliff Simon, shared his story that I first heard someone use terms like “gay” and “lesbian” without shame or judgement. Cliff’s story proved to me that I could be happy, and it’s the reason I came out — and ultimately, my inspiration to start VideoOut, an LGBTQ+ education and advocacy nonprofit.

As the population of openly LGBTQ+ people increases around the world, VideoOut aims to shepherd people from a place of limited exposure to a place of expanded understanding.

The left column displays letters in alphabetical order. In the middle, phrases like "Demisexual, Dip, Dysphoria, Femme" appear.

LGBTQ inclusive language glossary and definitions

I’m queer trans nonbinary. Not long ago, queer was a derogatory word — it’s what the bullies used when they weaponized their language against me. As attitudes and society evolved, so did our language and our understanding of the power words have to uplift or disparage people.

This year, VideoOut launched The LGBTQ+ Learning Project. It includes multiple phases, including a comprehensive educational resource and live community events that ladder up to our long term goal of building a museum on the National Mall. The Google News Initiative has supported us every step of the way during the first phase – the LGBTQ+ Language and Media Literacy Program.

Partnering with the GNI gave VideoOut the opportunity to work with a team of PhD linguists from the LGBTQ+ community to research the origin, evolution and current usage of 100 words and phrases that range from clinical terminology, like HRT and dysphoria, to slang terms used in niche communities like drag and ballroom. We will continue to expand the data visualization, designed by Polygraph, and employGoogle Trends technology to show the popularity of search terms over time.

This tool guides journalists through the complex world of LGBTQ+ vernacular. It shows who should be credited when using words that belong to marginalized communities. Most importantly, it arms reporters with knowledge, helping them to use LGBTQ+ terminology respectfully and accurately.

The program aims to inform people who are less familiar with the LGBTQ+ community, with the hopes of warming attitudes and fostering allyship. To that end, we’ve partnered with Men’s Health magazine to help contextualize the research and data in the program. We hope to reach a new audience and model how sharing information makes the most impact when it’s done across lines of difference.

The tool will be accessible through the Men’s Health website.

Queer and trans people are not new, but increasingly people are beginning to feel safe about living authentically. According to a recent Gallup poll, “One in six [U.S.] adults in Generation Z identifies as LGBT.” At the same time, a GLAAD report found 45% of non-LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. say they’re confused by the different number of terms to describe individuals who comprise the LGBTQ+ community.

Thanks to the efforts of queer and trans people on the forefront of the liberation movement, things are better now than they have ever been — but they are still fragile. The news media can help. Journalists can reference this tool to ensure they are using language appropriately. They can also interact with members of the community in their process. For example, if there is a story written about trans rights, VideoOut believes the writer should interview trans people, particularly ones who are active in the movement for trans rights.

The LGBTQ+ Language and Media Literacy Program is more than a glossary, though at its simplest, it can function that way. It’s a way to understand the LGBTQ+ community, and hopefully, it will transform the way journalists — and all of us — write and talk about LGBTQ+ people.

Two professors are leveling the field in computing research

Editor’s note: This guest post is by Professors Maria Gini and Shana Watters from the University of Minnesota.

Research is about opening up new worlds and systematically answering questions about their possibilities. But access to research opportunities, including computer science (CS) research, is not equitable: In Canada and the United States in 2020, resident students who identified as Black, Indigenous, Latino, women and intersections of these identities made up only 12.1% of CS Ph.D. enrollments. As educators, we felt compelled to address this inequity. We learned about Google’s exploreCSR program in 2018, and it’s helped us make important progress in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

exploreCSR provides faculty with funding, community, evaluation and connections to Google researchers in order to introduce students to the world of CS research. We used our first two years of exploreCSR funding to create content for an undergraduate research course and pilot it in weekend workshops. We started with the belief that all students are capable of executing research, but needed guidance on how to get started. But once we began the workshops, we realized that we needed to first establish a foundation of what research is and how it’s done. That way, students could move from sheer curiosity to hands-on practice. We also saw a need to recognize their commitment to this work through official academic credit.

Based on our learnings from the workshops, we offered a one-credit class in 2021 called “Introduction to Undergraduate Research in Computer Science.” The course helped students develop research skills like identifying and formulating research problems, reading research papers and analyzing data. Faculty mentors from a variety of backgrounds discussed their research, and mentors from Google engaged with the students through talks, panels and mock interviews. At the end of the semester, students understood how to network, present their knowledge and develop game plans to reach their computing research goals.

Our inaugural class included 45 students with a diverse range of identities, some of whom are now doing research with faculty, receiving undergraduate research funds and completing research internships. Our students reflected that having access to researchers in both academia and the tech industry opened up new ways of thinking about research. “Learning that it’s okay to change your academic and career plans really calmed some of the worries I have,” one student shared. Another learned the value of taking risks: “If you get stuck on a problem, try to jump out of the box to view it, and you might find brand new solutions which you had never imagined.”

Our goal from the start was to prepare the next generation of researchers, including many students historically marginalized in computing. And we’re still making progress. The support we received from exploreCSR and the program’s mentors helped make our first class a rewarding learning experience for both the students and instructors. Moving forward, we will work towards improving the course based on student feedback, and developing strong partnerships with local companies. And we're proud that the University of Minnesota’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering has committed to offer "Introduction to Undergraduate Research in Computer Science" as an annual course.

As the scientist Carl Sagan said, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” Our students are going to explore those incredible “somethings” with purpose and direction. We look forward to their accomplishments!

Visit our websiteto learn more about exploreCSR and meet the 35 institutionsin our 2021 cycle.

These 25 publishers want to know their communities

We can’t write about our communities without understanding them and being part of them. We don’t want to just parachute ourselves in and stick the microphone under their mouths, we really want to come at this as a way to serve them. Christelle Saint-Julien, journalist at La Converse

The third North America Innovation Challenge has selected 25 projects out of 190 from Canada and the U.S. to receive a share of more than $3.2 million USD to help build their ideas that address the need for research in local news.

This latest Challenge, part of a program designed to stimulate forward-thinking ideas focused on the news industry, was launched in June to support news innovators looking to research how they could better understand the local communities they serve. The selection process involves a rigorous review, a round of interviews and a final jury selection effort.

Among the successful applicants are:

  • Documented, a non-profit newsroom from the Brooklyn Community Foundation, which provides local news for and about New York City’s 3.1 million immigrants. They will use research to define, test and pilot a product and messaging strategy to expand their reach to Chinese and Caribbean immigrant communities.
  • Metroland, the community news media branch of Canadian national publisher Torstar brings Metroland Indigenous: Truth Through Storytelling — a dedicated effort to address a deficiency in news coverage of and for Indigenous peoples in Ontario.
  • A group of nonprofit and for-profit organizations based in Georgia coordinated by the women-led local publisher The Current is building a framework for organizers to collaborate on online local news delivery in the interest of better serving their community.
  • Minnesota-based news startup Sahan Journal is collaborating with three community media outlets to launch Citizen Lab, a series of public editorial meetings to check in with the communities they collectively serve and produce news in Somali, Hmong and Spanish.
  • La Converse in Quebec will be testing new approaches in order to broaden their French language offering in terms of stories and formats — for example, they’re testing things like text-based news service and audio formats.
  • Wick Communications, a family-owned local news company, will partner with ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to research new products and strategies to facilitate healthy online discourse in small Arizonan communities.

Read the full list of the successful recipients at newsinitiative.withgoogle.com. We extend our sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to apply .

Trends and learnings

Today’s North American winners brings our total of Innovation Challenges to nine running across 93 countries over the past three years. The program initially launched in Asia Pacific with a call for applications looking at new ideas to generate reader revenue. Across all these challenges, we’ve received over 2,500 project applications, creating 227 projects covering Latin America, the Middle East, Turkey and Africa and North America and resulting in over $30 million USD in funding. While there’s been much to learn along the way, the selected news organizations have reported results beyond expectations, with 75% of projects bringing a measurable increase in audience growth and engagement and more than 50% of the recipients already seeing a measurable increase in monetization.

A group of people standing against a brick wall, all looking into the camera and smiling.

The team from successful Innovation Challenge recipient Borderless Magazine from Illinois, which serves a diverse audience of people mostly under 40 years of age. They will be experimenting with new distribution and engagement strategies for their Spanish and English audiences.

Over 50% (1,301) of the applications we received across all Innovation Challenges were focused on audience engagement and monetization. Many North American local or regional publishers recognized the need for direct reader revenue, and over time their focus has shifted to optimization and retaining subscribers .

North American online-only publishers, and local or regional publishers from other areas such as Africa, Asia and Latin America, are still focused on scale, but they are also beginning to experiment with reader revenue and understand the need for improved engagement.

We’re also seeing a need for cultural change, in newsrooms and in coverage, becoming an area of focus for these Innovation Challenges. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) have been necessary elements for applicants’ projects since early 2020. As a result it drove 1,000 applications, 223 interviews and over $13 million in funding. Over 60% of applicants reported that DEI was of strong importance to their organization.

You can read more about the successful recipients around the globe. The Innovation Challenges program will continue in 2022, with application dates to be announced on the Keyword blog and through the GNI Newsletter.

And over the next week, we’ll be highlighting a series of stories from news innovators who have launched projects in France, Indonesia, India, the U.S. and Chile — stay tuned to this space for more.

This Code Next student is paying it forward

As part of Google’s Code Next program, which brings computer science (CS) education to underrepresented communities in tech, student Gideon Buddenhagen took on a research project that would make a big impact. Through his research, he found that young students of color without financial resources don’t have the same access to technology, computer science education and mentors who look like them — opportunities that had a meaningful effect on Gideon’s own life. So for his final project with Code Next, Gideon is introducing technical education to middle school students and helping them see the many doors tech can open for them.

“I wanted to offer opportunities to learn about computer science as a pathway out of poverty and show these students cool, smart role models who look like them,” Gideon said.

Leadership in Motion is a free program Gideon designed to expose middle school students in underrepresented communities to the field of technology through mentorship from diverse high school students who have participated in Code Next. This not only gives younger students access to tech education, it also provides high school students with leadership opportunities.

Gideon collaborated with his Code Next mentors and partnered with Bridge the Gap College Prep, a nonprofit serving low-income youth, to launch a nine-week pilot of Leadership in Motion in early October. Fifteen students signed up for the pilot session, taught by four high school student engineers, and Gideon and his partners plan to scale the program to more participants soon.

Gideon knows firsthand that initiatives like Code Next and other CS programs at Google can be transformative. And with Leadership in Motion, Gideon is opening new pathways for younger students — helping them learn about technology, grow their tech networks and explore exciting possibilities for their futures.

To learn more about Code Next or if you know a student who should apply for the program, sign up for updates.

How we’re building for transgender communities

Understanding gender can be a lifelong journey for many folks. Coming out as trans or nonbinary can include a lot of changes, including the use of different pronouns or a different name, or physical changes. None of this is easy. Something as simple as seeing an old photo of yourself can be painful if it doesn’t match who you are now on your journey.

We heard directly from members of the transgender, nonbinary, and gender expansive (GE) communites on this issue. To learn how we could help make reminiscing with Google Photos more inclusive, we worked with trans and gender expansive users and brought in our partners at GLAAD.

Working with GLAAD, we conducted qualitative research interviews with trans individuals and community leaders. These focus groups, along with our own transgender community at Google, played an important role in shaping how Memories in Google Photos works. We learned that control over Memories would be necessary and that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

Image showing three quotes from feedback participants. Quote one says: “A lot of our lives are survival and making people who make us uncomfortable, comfortable with us.”; Quote two says: “Even the ugly things I have gratitude for. We’re always what we need to be, regardless of whether you feel ready or not. When I look at the past, it reminds me of that, the resiliency and the ability to overcome what you thought was impossible.” Quote three says: “This can give someone a sense of control, a sense of autonomy. And they’re not just being bombarded with things they don’t want to see.”

Some of the feedback we received from focus group participants.

To give you control, we made it possible to hide photos of certain people or time periods from our Memories feature. And soon you’ll be able to remove a single photo from a Memory, rename a Memory, or remove it entirely. We’re making all these controls easy to find, so you can make changes in just a few taps.

In addition to the work we are doing to make Google Photos more inclusive, we wanted to make sure we are also supporting non-profits that directly serve the transgender community. Google.org is giving cash grants to such organizations that are providing critical services and resources directly to transgender and GE communities across the globe. Some of the organizations included are the Transgender Law Center, Trans Lifeline and Transgender & Intersex Africa.

Google.org is proud to support the transgender and GE communities in our broader work on gender equity too. As part of the Google.org Impact Challenge Women and Girls, we recently announced financial support for both Reprograma and TransTech Social, organizations that are focused on helping members of the community reach their full economic potential and thrive.

In addition, Google.org continues to donate Search Ads and enable Googler volunteer efforts to benefit organizations like Transgender Law Center, Reprograma, and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. This enables these LGBTQ+ nonprofits to advocate for the Trans Agenda for Liberation, direct community members to pro bono legal resources, provide direct aid to transgender people in need and raise critical funds to advance transgender equality.

We hope the changes to Google Photos make it better for everyone, and that the work we’re doing with these organizations can truly impact the transgender community. There’s still more to do, but we’re committed to doing this work together.

Cómo estamos elevando la comunidades trans en nuestro productos

Comprender el género de uno mismo puede ser un proceso de toda la vida. Identificarse como trans o de género no binario puede implicar muchos cambios, incluido el uso de diferentes pronombres o un nombre distinto, o bien cambios físicos.Nada de esto es sencillo. Algo tan simple como ver una fotografía vieja de uno mismo puede ser doloroso si no coincide con quién uno es ahora.

Recibimos testimonios directos de miembros de las comunidades transgénero, no binario y género expansivo (GE). Para obtener información sobre cómo podríamos hacer que los recuerdos con Google Fotos sean más inclusivos, trabajamos con usuarios trans y de género expansivo, y nuestros socios en GLAAD.

Al trabajar con GLAAD, realizamos entrevistas de investigación cualitativa con personas trans y líderes de la comunidad. Estos grupos de enfoque, junto con nuestra comunidad transgénero en Google, desempeñaron una función importante al moldear el funcionamiento de las Memorias en Google Fotos. Aprendimos que el control de las Memorias sería necesario y que no hay una única solución.

Comentarios del grupo de enfoque.

Comentarios del grupo de enfoque.

Este trabajo nos inspiró a darte el control para ocultar fotografías de ciertas personas o períodos de nuestra función Memorias. Y pronto podrás eliminar fotografía individualmente de una Memoria, cambiar el nombre de una Memoria o eliminarla en su totalidad. Estamos dejando todos estos controles en un lugar fácil de encontrar, para que puedas hacer cambios con solo un par de toques.

Además del trabajo que estamos haciendo para que Google Fotos sea más inclusivo, queríamos asegurarnos de también estar respaldando a organizaciones sin fines de lucro que prestan servicios directos a la comunidad trans. Google.org ha entregado subvenciones en efectivo a dichas organizaciones globales que ofrecen servicios y recursos críticos directamente a las comunidades trans y GE. Algunas de las organizaciones incluidas son Transgender Law Center, Trans Lifeline, Asia Pacific Transgender Network, Transgender and Intersex Africa y Gendered Intelligence.

Como parte del Google.org Impact Challenge para mujeres y niñas, recientemente anunciamos respaldo financiero tanto para Reprograma como para TransTech Social, organizaciones que se enfocan en ayudar a los miembros de la comunidad transgénero a alcanzar su potencial económico pleno y progresar.

Además, Google.org continúa donando Anuncios de búsqueda y habilitando esfuerzos de voluntarios de Google para beneficiar a organizaciones como Transgender Law Center, Reprograma y Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. Esto permite que estas organizaciones sin fines de lucro de la comunidad LGBTQ+ defiendan la Agenda Trans para la Liberación, remitan a los miembros de la comunidad a recursos legales gratuitos, brinden ayuda directa a personas transgénero que lo necesiten y recauden fondos críticos para lograr avances en la igualdad transgénero.

Esperamos que los cambios en Google Fotos sean para mejorar el producto para todos y que el trabajo que estamos haciendo con estas organizaciones pueda tener un verdadero impacto en la comunidad transgénero. Aún hay más por hacer, pero estamos comprometidos a hacer este trabajo juntos.

Building a more equitable workplace

When we established our racial equity commitments in June 2020, we started with a concerted focus on building equity with and for the Black community as part of our ongoing work to build a Google where everyone belongs. Over the past year, we’ve provided regular updates on our progress.

Through this work, we've found new ways to support all groups who have historically been underrepresented in the tech industry, and to improve our products so they work better for everyone. Here’s a look at our latest efforts.

Building a more representative workforce

We set out to improve leadership representation of Black+, Latinx+ and Native American+ Googlers in the U.S. by 30% by 2025. We’ve already reached our goal, and we’re on track to double the number of Black+ Googlers at all other levels in the U.S. by 2025.

Hiring alone isn’t enough. We’re continually investing in onboarding, progressing and retaining our underrepresented employees. This year, we ran an onboarding pilot to provide a sense of community, and targeted support and mentorship for Black new hires in the U.S., including providing an onboarding roadmap, resources and virtual seminars. New employees at the Director level were also paired with buddies in the Black Leadership Advisory Group (BLAG). We’ve seen positive feedback from this program — in fact, 80% of respondents to questions about their pilot experience said they would recommend it. We'll take what we’ve learned and roll out a six-month onboarding program for Black new hires globally early next year.

We’re building a similar program for Latino Googlers, and many of our Employee Resource Groups have worked with us to establish a Noogler Buddy program. And in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Black employees can opt in to receive one-on-one mentorship and external executive coaching during the second half of this year — regardless of tenure.

We continue to invest in fair and consistent performance reviews, promotion and pay outcomes. And we know leadership engagement is critical in this area, so all VPs are now evaluated on their leadership in support of diversity, equity and inclusion, which factors into their ratings and pay.

Ensuring our products work for everyone

We’re also continuing to build products that work for all users. Last month, we launched the Pixel 6 with an improved camera, plus face detection and editing products, which we call Real Tone — specifically to power images with more brightness, depth and detail across skin tones. And we’re continuing our work to take down videos with misinformation, removing roughly 10 million a quarter.

The call for product inclusion and equity ideas to support the Black community resulted in 80 new projects since 2020, including making a Black-owned business attribute available to merchants in the U.S. We also worked closely with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) to unveil a new Latino-owned attribute in Google Business Profiles to help Latino-owned businesses get discovered in Google Search and Maps. We’re also creating Grow with Google digital resource centers with USHCC that will train an additional 10,000 Latino business owners on how to use digital tools to grow their business.

Creating pathways to tech

Back in June, we granted Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) $50 million in unrestricted funding so these institutions could invest in their communities and the future workforce as they see fit. For example, North Carolina A&T State University is putting $150,000 towards curriculum development in pre-college programs for aspiring science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students. Morgan State University has dedicated $1 million to computer science operations, which includes new ideation lab spaces and equipment enhancements. Additionally, as part of our $15 million investment in the Latino community, we’re providing a $1 million grant to Hispanic Federation to help Latino-led and Latino-serving nonprofits train more than 6,000 individuals in career-aligned digital skills over the next year.

We’ve also partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Partnership with Native Americans to bring digital skills and workforce training to HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Native Serving Organizations (NSOs) through the Grow with Google Career Readiness program. In total, Google has committed to training more than 250,000 Black, Latino and Indigenous students by 2025. And through Grow with Google: Black Women Lead, we’re providing 100,000 Black women with career development and digital skills training by spring 2022.

We're also expanding the paths to technology outside the U.S. For example, in Brazil, we launched the second class of Next Step, an internship program exclusively for Black students that removes the prerequisite for English.

Providing opportunities for economic advancement

Last year, we announced a goal to spend $100 million with Black-owned suppliers, as part of our broader supplier diversity commitment to spend more than $1 billion with diverse-owned suppliers in the U.S. every year. To date, we’ve paid out nearly $1.1 billion to diverse-owned suppliers, exceeding our $1 billion goal for 2021. We are also on track to meet our $100 million commitment toward Black-owned suppliers for 2021.

We continue to offer resources for Black-owned businesses through programs like the Google Storefront Kits program, which provides small businesses with free Google Nest and Pixel devices, alongside free installation and Grow with Google online training. In the first 60 days of the program, we donated 3,000 Nest and Pixel devices to more than 550 Black-owned businesses across the U.S. We’ve updated the kits based on business owners’ feedback and aim to reach an additional 1,200 Black-owned businesses across more cities in the U.S.

Google's commitment of $185 million has enabled Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) to establish the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and OFN's Grant Program, funded by Google.org to assist Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) working with underserved small businesses. To date, over $149 million in loans and grants has been disbursed to OFN member CDFIs, including $50 million to support Black-owned businesses.

We’re focusing on communities outside the United States, too. For example, in addition to the $15 million we invested in Black and Latino founders in the U.S., we’ve invested in 50 Black-owned startups in Africa, 29 Black-owned startups in Brazil and 30 Black-owned startups in Europe.

We’re also partnering with financial institutions like BlackRock, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to launch money market funds that promote racial equity. We’ve invested more than $1 billion in products that generate revenue for diverse-led financial institutions, like Loop Capital, and support programs like the One Million Black Women Initiative and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Our racial equity work is an important part of our company-wide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It takes thoughtful engagement with our underrepresented employees, including the Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, Latino and Native American communities — as well as people with disabilities, those who identify as LGBTQ+ and those who come from different religious backgrounds. Through this work, we’ll build a Google where everyone belongs and more helpful products for our users and the world.

Honoring Indigenous communities around the world

Shekoli (hello)! Today, we kick off Native American Heritage Month in the U.S. I am a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, or Onyota’a:ka, and I am thankful that I was able to grow up on my tribe’s reservation, which is on the ancestral lands of the Menominee Nation. I celebrate the resiliency of the Menominee, Oneida, and the 10 other tribal nations of Wisconsin, honor their sovereignty, and acknowledge their connection to the lands and waters of this state.

My tribe is just one of the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes in the U.S. Every year, I look forward to this month as an opportunity to learn more about the diverse tribes, nations, communities and pueblos that make up Indian Country, a term used to describe Native economies and spaces in the United States. Like many Native people alive today, I am a descendant of survivors of residential schools which were created in the 19th century, and carried on into the 20th, as part of the United States’ assimilation policy. Learning about and celebrating Indigenous culture means so much to me because I know how much was required to carry it on.

A mother and daughter sit on the grass with a crowd behind them.

Olivia with her mother at the annual Oneida Pow Wow when she was a child.

I’m proud to serve as a lead for the Google Aboriginal and Indigenous Network (GAIN), an employee resource group which supports our growing community at Google and helps make a positive impact in Native communities outside Google. What started out as a majority U.S-focused group back in 2012 (and previously named the Google American Indian Network) has now grown to include Googlers from around the world, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia. This year, we partnered with teams across Google to support Native-serving organizations, celebrate Indigenous artists, and amplify the stories of people building Indigenous futures.

Supporting Native jobseekers and small businesses

Across the U.S. the compounding effects of COVID-19 continue to disproportionately impact vulnerable populations, including the Indigenous community. According to a report from the Center for American Progress, “COVID-19 will cost Indian Country an estimated $50 billion in economic activity and place the livelihoods of 1.1 million tribal business workers—both Native and non-Native—at risk.” Small businesses drive local economies and help foster a sense of belonging in the communities they serve and represent.

Last year, as part of our economic recovery efforts, Google.org provided $1.25 million in grants to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) to help support Native-owned small businesses like Earth and Sky Floral Designs and Gallery. Shayai Lucero, a tribal member of the Acoma Pueblo and Laguna Pueblo, started Earth and Sky Floral Designs and Gallery used funding from NCAI’s program to keep her floral business running and to hire fellow local tribal members during the pandemic.

Portrait photo of Shayai Lucero, who wears a black and red shirt and turquoise earrings.

“I hired a graphics designer who is from Laguna Pueblo to do some graphics and revisions to my company's logo. I was able to pay him at a non-discounted price thanks to the grant. The logo revision has allowed me to market in ways I haven’t before” shares Shayai Lucero, owner of Earth and Sky Floral Designs and Gallery.

In addition to our support of Native small businesses, we are also giving $1 million to Partnership With Native Americans to help train 10,000 students at more than 50 Native-serving organizations by 2025 through the Grow with Google Indigenous Career Readiness Program. Over the next four years, we will provide digital skills curriculum and trainers to career services at Tribal Colleges and Universities and other Native-serving institutions. And because we know students are often at different starting points in their educational journeys, the program will also reach high school upperclassmen who are preparing for college and careers, as well as vocational and non-traditional students.

This work builds on our HBCU Career Readiness and HSI Career Readiness and is a part of a larger strategy to expand our Career Readiness program to Black, Latino and Indigenous communities.

Celebrating artists, past and present

Today’s interactive Doodle, illustrated by Zuni Pueblo guest artist Mallery Quetawki, honors the late We:wa, a revered cultural leader and mediator within the Zuni tribe who devoted their life to the preservation of Zuni traditions and history. The late We:wa was also a fiber artist, weaver and potter, and in this interactive Doodle you can try the art of weaving yourself, while learning about Zuni people and listening to music created by the Zuni Olla Maidens. To discover more about the late We:wa, and the process of bringing this Doodle to life, check out the Behind the Doodle film. There will also be a fun celebratory surprise when you look up the late We:wa or Native American Heritage Month on Search.

A still image of the 2021 Native American Heritage Month Google Doodle illustrating  a portrait of the late We:wa weaving a fabric pattern in front of a scenic blue and brown background.

This year’s Native American Heritage Month is an interactive Doodle by guest artist Mallery Quetawki honors the late We:wa, a revered cultural leader and mediator within the Zuni tribe.

In collaboration with long-standing Google Arts & Culture partners including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and Honoring Nations, among others, we’re spotlighting extraordinary stories of Indigenous art and culture. Dive into existing content from partners across the Americas – from the historic work of the Native American Code Talkers in the U.S. to the masters of the Totonac Spiritual Cuisine in Mexico – and celebrate the past and present of Indigenous cultures with a tour of the dizzying dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park and a look at contemporary Inuit ceramics.

If you’re interested in learning more about the rich culture and history of Native American communities, simply say “Hey Google, give me a fact about Native American Heritage” on any Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker, display or phone. When you do, you can explore some of the many contributions of Native Americans and hear about significant events in our shared history. There’s something new to discover every day throughout the month of November, including facts about the first Native American to earn an Academy Award nomination and how the Iroquois Confederacy influenced the U.S. constitution.

Keeping a global perspective

This year, U.S. Search Trend traffic for the term “Indigenous'' surpassed searches for “Native American” and “American Indian” for the first time, demonstrating a growing interest in Indigeneity. You can learn more about Search Trends related to Indigenous topics on our Native American Heritage Month Search Trend feature.

Earlier this year, we partnered with the National Congress of Americans (NCAI) to share Inclusive Marketing Guidelines for Indigenous people, which consist of recommendations and learnings to prevent stereotypes and promote authentic portrayals in marketing.

While November is when we celebrate Native American Heritage Month in the U.S., we are always celebrating Indigenous culture around the world. In Canada, we honored the life and efforts of Mary Two-Axe Early, 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. We also continue to actively support the Indigenous Mapping Workshop, a collaborative effort across Indigenous communities to decolonize geographic resources and promote Indigenous rights and interests.

In Canada, Indigenous Peoples remain largely underrepresented in the technology workforce, so to begin to address this disparity, we have also invested in Indigenous education through a Google.org grant to ComIT, a tech-focused charity that provides IT training for Indigenous students and early career professionals facing employment barriers.

I am thankful that this month I am in Onyota’a:ka (Oneida) to celebrate with my family. I will have many bowls of o·nʌ́steˀ (Oneida White Corn) soup, one of our traditional crops that have been in the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) diet for hundreds of years. If you are looking for ways to honor Indigenous people this month, I encourage you to take a moment to explore some of the stories we’ve shared today or learn about the people that are Indigenous to the land you are on today.

Tech Bytes: spotlighting Black women engineers at Google

Earlier this year, Google’s Women Techmakers launched “Tech Bytes,” a series featuring Black women engineers and developers at Google. Tech Bytes supports our broader effort to spotlight Black women in tech by sharing their technical expertise, and creating a space for Black women in the industry to connect.

For our latest episode of Tech Bytes, we sat down with Kendra Claiborne, an Application Engineer at YouTube, to learn more about her role and passion for technology.

Tell us about your path to joining the tech industry. Where were you before?

My journey into tech started when I was eight years old, building websites for fun and searching online to learn how the computer works. My passion for programming led me to pursue a degree in Computer Science at the University at Buffalo. During my undergraduate years, I took an internship at a startup that specialized in building custom applications on the Salesforce platform. I was very unfamiliar with Salesforce when I first started, but I was excited to learn something new. Since that internship, I’ve built both frontend (user-facing) and backend solutions on the Salesforce platform for customers in many different industries. Those opportunities led me to the YouTube Content Partnerships Systems team in 2020.

Tell us about your role on that team. What do you do day to day?

I’m an Application Engineer, and I’ve carried my past experience into this role by focusing on building frontend and backend solutions on the Salesforce platform. Each day is slightly different from the next. My team applies the agile methodology for software development, which means we deliver feature requests or fix bugs incrementally instead of all at once. We participate in two-week “sprints” to get these done most efficiently. Leading up to a sprint, I am laser focused on mapping out the design for a feature request, which involves a lot of research and collaboration with the team and project lead. Once we've defined our approach and the tasks required to accomplish it, we focus on building out the features. I’ll spend the next 5-8 days coding, testing and submitting my code for peer review — after which, it will get deployed to our staging environments. A staging environment is like a testing ground, where we can make sure our code is working as intended before we push it live. At the end of the sprint, if our deliverables have been approved for Quality Assurance (QA) — meaning they have reliable performance and functionality — they'll be released to production.

What was the most important class or training that you took? What was a key technical takeaway?

During my undergraduate studies, I took a Data Structures and Algorithms Design course. That class was instrumental in building my problem solving skills. It taught me how to more effectively organize, store, and solve problems based on inputs of data.

Tell us about your Tech Bytes episode. What message did you want to get across?

In my Tech Bytes episode, I discuss three different topics: communicating changes across separate systems through the Publisher-Subscriber Model; building modular, reusable code, which separates functionality into independent pieces of code; and the importance of Test Driven Development. I hope that viewers learn something new and get inspired to find out more about these subjects — and maybe even use them in a future project.

Check out Kendra’s Tech Bytes episode for more, and explore other interviews on our Tech Bytes YouTube channel. You can also learn more about our efforts to spotlight Black women in tech on the Google’s Women Techmakers website.

A Googler tells us how the world can show up for Afghans

In the early 1980s, Shahla Naimi’s mother arrived at a United States air force base in California as a refugee from Afghanistan. Weary from her journey, she was met by a group of volunteers who welcomed her to her new home. So began her new life in the United States.

40 years later, Shahla – a Senior Program Manager at Google – found herself at a government facility in New Jersey where she partnered with the International Rescue Committee to welcome 9,000 Afghans who’d fled the recent Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

“I didn’t realize how many times my heart could break,” says Shahla. “​​It was the most emotionally and physically exhausting experience I've ever had – and perhaps the most rewarding one as well. As an Afghan and as an American, it pushed me in unexpected ways to see my own people so newly displaced from their homes.”

We recently took some time to ask Shahla about her work with the IRC.

What are your ties with Afghanistan?

I am Afghan! I grew up in south L.A. in the wake of 9/11, fairly isolated from the broader Afghan-American community but surrounded by fellow immigrants from all over the world.

I traveled to Afghanistan for the first time in 2011, when my uncle encouraged me to visit him in Kabul. Walking around the city, I saw my parent’s faces everywhere I went. Similar features, same classic Afghan expressions. Afghans from the diaspora occupy a complicated space in Afghanistan, and I was grateful to feel so welcomed.

A picture of a woman playing with local children in the Bamiyan Valley of Afghanistan.

Shahla on one of her recent visits to Afghanistan, playing with children from the Bamiyan Valley.

Why did you decide to volunteer with the International Rescue Committee?

When the Taliban takeover began, people started to flee through the airport. I tried to do what I could from my computer and phone, staying up all night trying to help family and friends in Afghanistan. Knowing firsthand the benefit of Afghans showing up for Afghans, I wanted to welcome people as best I could. I saw on social media that the IRC was looking for volunteers for the thousands of Afghans who would soon be arriving. Within a week, I was on my way to welcome new arrivals.

What was volunteering like?

It was a full-on emergency situation. My job was to work with the U.S. Government staff to lead reception services at a location we informally called the "Welcome Center.” Afghans would arrive — at any hour of the day or night — and I would help get their immigration process started by taking down their basic info.

We had to be quick on our feet about how we tackle unforeseen circumstances, like developing new ways of incorporating COVID precautions, or trying to reunite a husband with his wife without any identifying documentation to work off of other than their names.

This was nothing in comparison to what Afghans newly arriving were feeling. They were exhausted. By the time people reached us, they had been traveling for 20+ days, some separated from their families, many without a hot meal or shower for weeks. Someone even asked, “Where am I?” before collapsing on the ground. To see my own people so exhausted was devastating.

A picture of drawings made by newly arrived Afghan children on a bulletin board.

A bulletin board of drawings made by newly arrived Afghan children in the U.S.

What should someone know about refugees coming from Afghanistan?

This is going to be a long, hard process for Afghans — from identifying a path to immigration to resettling into a new home, all while so many grieve separation from their families and communities in Afghanistan. Show up for them today, but also show up for them and all people searching for a safer, better life in the years and decades to come.

You’re co-lead of the Afghan Googler’s Network. Can you tell us more about how this group came to be?

I met my co-lead, Fereshta, in a group chat at a Google event for women of color in tech. I was inspired by the great work of other Google employee groups, like the Black Googlers Network. Many Afghans had been informally meeting up for years, but we felt it was time to organize officially. We were in the early stages of formally launching the group when the Taliban takeover sped up our plans.

What’s next for you?

I’m partnering with an Afghan foundation called Boum Books to launch a series of children’s books in the United States in Dari, English and Pashto. The first book, called “Boum-e Dana wa Dokhtare Ba-hosh” (which translated means “The Wise Owl and the Clever Girl”) is about an Afghan girl building her confidence and sense of self. It’s fully written and illustrated by Afghans. Seeing ourselves in the books that we read is important – more so when you've been forced to leave your home and resettle in an unfamiliar place. We hope this book, and others forthcoming, will bring a sense of belonging to Afghan children in the U.S.

An illustration from Shahla’s upcoming children’s book of an Afghan woman watering plants, with a little girl by her side.

An illustration from Shahla’s upcoming children’s book, "Boum-e Dana wa Dokhtare Ba-hosh" ("The Wise Owl and the Clever Girl").

What advice would you give to the average person on how to show support regarding the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan?

I’d suggest following and listening to Afghan experts – and supporting organizations run and led by Afghans. Additionally, consider reading and amplifying local, grassroots news organizations. It’s critical to amplify voices from Afghanistan, as international headlines subside.Continue to seek news about what's happening in Afghanistan. Afghanistan may fall from the international headlines, but it's critical to continue seeking out information and remaining informed. Many Afghans are suffering from a nationwide humanitarian crisis — one that is likely to get worse as the winter approaches. The precursor to helping is understanding what's happening.