Diversity & Inclusion

This June, let’s assess: Did your DEI pledges actually make an impact?

With seemingly more societal improvements to celebrate on one hand and ever-persistent inequities on the other, Technical.ly will dedicate our DEI Progress Month to covering what still needs to happen, especially in the tech sector.

A racial justice protest in Philadelphia in June 2020. (Photo by Flickr user Joe Piette, used via a Creative Commons license)

This editorial article is a part of DEI Progress Month of Technical.ly’s editorial calendar.

How do you define “diversity,” “representation,” “inclusion” or “equity?”

This isn’t rhetorical. I can say, on behalf of my Technical.ly colleagues and myself, that we legitimately want to know.

The definitions — and importance — of these concepts seem obvious, right? After centuries of economic, political and social capital being principally concentrated in the hands of cishet white men, many American cities’ commercial sectors are getting visibly less same-y. There are seemingly more women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities and others who don’t fit the mold that white men set for institutional leadership in those positions of power than ever before. So in this respect, the meaning of “diversity” seems pretty apparent.

Still, even after a decade spent being professionally concerned about diversity, equity and inclusion, aka DEI, I struggle to grasp how to best define any of these concepts so they’re actionably useful. Various professional sectors do, too. So what can we expect from an industry as unpredictable and unregulated as tech?

As it turns out, a lot. The statistics show that Black women drive entrepreneurship across the country. Our coverage of tech- and founder-driven systems throughout Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, Pittsburgh, Delaware and beyond features countless examples of initiatives, bills, corporate programs, employee resource groups and individual declarations that represent the hope of more equitable cities. In Maryland, where I’m based, the state’s first Black governor put his support behind a bill branded after one such private sector plan. That at least looks like progress from before three years ago, when global protests against anti-Black police violence shook the professional sector into more intentional DEI promises.

But against the backdrop of continued attacks on the freedom and vitality of people from all marginalized groups — and, in this Pride Month, not just people of color — the true impact of this hopeful enthusiasm should be investigated.

To that end, June is DEI Progress Month in Technical.ly’s 2023 editorial calendar. Expect articles tracking such progress, highlighting companies’ approaches to inequity and more of the coverage you’ve come to expect from our Junes since 2020 — albeit with an eye toward accountability. We’ll explore what’s changed in tech and business since the racial equity pledges of 2020, 2021 and 2022; how startup funding can be dispersed more equitably; and what diversity and inclusion programs have proven to be most effective, among related topics.

We might not all share the same definitions of DEI, but we likely share the same aspirations for a more representative and equitable professional sector.

And while we’re taking a critical lens this month and always, we also call on you to share with us examples of great work you or your employers are doing to combat exclusion. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have something poignant and necessary to say, or an idea for a story we should cover:

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Series: DEI Progress Month 2023

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