This week, President Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a national holiday. This new law honors June 19, the day in 1865 when a U.S. General ordered the end of slavery in Texas.
Today, 156 years later, Juneteenth reminds us we still have work to do when it comes to including everyone, especially disadvantaged communities, in the innovation economy fueled by TAG.
Ultimately, technology should work in the service of people—all people. Therefore, it is the shared obligation of TAG’s members to ensure technology does not disproportionally favor any one community. We should be an accessible catalyst and enabler of a more just and equitable world.
This may not be the easy thing to do, but it’s definitely the right thing to do.
To that end, it’s important to remember that Georgia, home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, and many other Civil Rights icons, has a unique, powerful, and indelible legacy of societal transformation.
Last year TAG set out on a journey to make sure we are doing our part to ensure social justice and equity are at the core of our mission and activities. The TAG Board of Directors quickly made changes to make sure TAG reflects the community we serve. I want to thank Stacie Hagan formerly of Dell SecureWorks and Roy Hadley, cybersecurity attorney, for stepping up to co-chair TAG’s Social Justice and Equity Task Force.
We’re making great progress and there is still much to do. On May 25, 2021, on the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, the Executive Committee of TAG’s Board of Directors unanimously approved five new social justice and equity principles to serve as beacons to guide TAG’s future.
Just this week these principles were ratified by TAG’s full Board of Directors:
- Access: Giving people access to resources and opportunities
- Equity: Eliminating systemic barriers to opportunity
- Diversity: Inclusive of wide variety of people
- Participation: People of all types having an opportunity to participate in decision-making
- Human rights: Protect and honor rights of diverse people.
How can our members support these objectives? One way is for TAG societies to embed social justice in their charter. I’m pleased to hear about conversations on social justice happening in our societies and would love to know about more. Our Diversity and Inclusion Society is a great resource on this subject and is open to participating in any TAG society meeting.
TAG members can also make a difference by supporting TAG-Ed, our internship program. We connect talented high school students with real-world experience and fantastic leaders and mentors.
The bottom line is this: We can and should do more to recruit under-sourced and underrepresented talent. As our businesses become more diverse, they will also become more innovative and successful.
While we’re at it, let’s work together to see that inclusion drives innovation and innovation drives inclusion.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Juneteenth.
Larry K. Williams
President and CEO, Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)