AfroTech conference draws black tech industry leaders, innovators to Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) – This weekend in Oakland more than 10,000 people of color will be taking part in a weekend-long conference called AfroTech.
“I’ve worked in tech for over 10 years and there’s not a ton of diversity in many of the places I’ve worked,” said Dana Barrett of Asana.
In 2016, Blavity Inc, a media company targeting black millennials, decided it was time to seek out and empower people of color in the field of technology and AfroTech was born.
“Oftentimes being a black person in tech you don’t see yourself reflected in mainstream media or news. Even some of the mainstream tech publications don’t even cover our story,” said Blavity CEO Morgan DeBaun.
This is the fourth year of the annual AfroTech conference. The first three events were in San Francisco.
This year they crossed the Bay into Oakland, providing black ‘techies’ and entrepreneurs a place they can feel at home and be seen. And by people who look them in their chosen fields.
“It’s so important that we’re able to have that access. That we’re able to share with one another and that we’re building and pushing the culture forward in technology,” said BlackTechAcademy.com founder Kadeem Pardue.
“AfroTech is like that avenue for us to bring more people to get into these tech spaces to ensure actual diversity in these companies,” said Pearle Nwaezeigwe of Berkeley.
“We’re all about breaking down those barriers, adding more representation into content stories and creating more platforms for us, by us,” DeBaun added.
There are more than 100 partners in vendors taking part in the conference, where people are learning everything dealing with technology. From artificial intelligence, building a start-up, to recruiting more people of color into a field that’s predominately white.
“We’re really focused on making sure our workforce is diverse and inclusive and we’re particularly looking to get more black people to work at Asana” said Barrett.
“AfroTech is for everybody. We focus and we design experiences for black techies but we welcome everybody into the space,” said DeBaun.
The conference is sold out. But the community park is free of charge and open to everyone. The conference runs through Saturday.
This story first appeared on Fox 2 KTVU