May I suggest a very concrete action? Teach East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park Latina (and those from other educationally under-represented target groups) middle school girls how to code. I can suggest an organization that does such work. I’m not a coder per se, so I would not be the best person to teach coding, my involvement was to expose them to the beauty of STEM, talk to them in Spanish, start a program of donating old laptops and talk to them about what opportunities STEM would open up for them in terms of employment in tech.

As you are aware, East PA and East Menlo Park are where Latina families and others are getting squeezed out of the housing by FaceBook’s giant footprint. At a town hall, a local teacher asked what she should tell her students to study so they could get jobs at FB (beyond, I suppose, cafeteria worker and custodial staff). The amazing response from the WOC community outreach blah blah was “They should become computer scientists.”! This is willfully ignorant and intentionally intimidating and I corrected them in public, the vast majority of FB’s techies are not “computer scientists”, all it is is that they know how to code, and earning to code is accessible to middle school kids and the barrier to entry is low.

It is absolutely shameful that 25+ years after the tech boom in Silicon Valley started, none of these bazillionaire companies with “visionary” leaders has done anything to increase computer literacy amongst the educationally under-represented target groups and as a consequence change the demographics of their employees. What good are their ML/AI/predictive algorithms if they couldn’t have solved this problem in advance?

I stop to miau to cats.

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