The Chattanooga Technology Council (ChaTech) stands in solidarity with the movement demanding the end of police brutality and of entrenched racism that together have continuously marginalized black and brown people for over 400 years. The killing of George Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of police, and the resulting public outcry, have once again underscored the great disparities in American life, prosperity, and health. We cannot remain silent about the need for major changes in our society.
Unjust systems in the United States have created webs that are deeply embedded in our society in ways that are simultaneously obvious and hidden. Civic leaders and ordinary citizens alike have been blind to or have long ignored these inequalities which have marginalized millions of our fellow Americans. Barriers in education, housing, employment, banking, business, policing, and other spheres have built multiple layers of discrimination which chronically disadvantage people of color. This has unfairly limited their success and well-being.
ChaTech calls upon our city, county, state, and federal governments to rise at this moment, to engage, and to take action according to their respective roles, to root out the policies, practices, and laws that underpin inequality and bias against people of color. Their actions must address the urgent need to improve law-enforcement policy and community policing tactics.
ChaTech is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect the Chattanooga technology community to drive economic growth across the region. Our member companies employ tens of thousands of people. We call on each member and employee to awaken to his/her individual responsibility, as citizens and as workers who animate the lives of their companies, to find or increase the roles they can personally play in identifying, combatting, and reversing systemic racism.
Both the information technology and broader tech-related communities lag behind other sectors of business and employment in the racial composition of their personnel. ChaTech applauds those members who are already active in efforts to remove barriers and increase diversity. But we call on our member organizations to take more substantive action to increase diversity by creating and maintaining work environments that support underrepresented groups within their workforce.
Our Code Camp (for middle and high school students) and ChaTech Scholars program (for college students) illustrate ChaTech’s efforts to cultivate and support an inclusive talent pool locally. We strive to recruit board and staff who represent the community, and we recognize the opportunity for growth here.
As ChaTech makes decisions about our programs and initiatives, we commit to asking, “how does this program serve the interests and needs of the tech community, especially those who have been historically excluded?” With this lens in place, we will contribute to improving the communities in which we live and work—and enhance opportunities for training and employment for those interested in working in tech and IT.
Some resources on professional support, diversity, personal growth, and anti-racism can be found at these and many other websites:
Black Lives Matter
Black Women Talk Tech
National Seed Project
UTC Resources for Allyship and Antiracism
Books about Antiracism