‘We’re here because we care.’
I spontaneously stated this phrase at the end of a recent TV show we recorded – ‘Innovation Showcase’ hosted by Jay Sugarman.
It sums up, in five words, the primary driving force behind Blackfacts.com.
Blackfacts was created in 1997, at the dawn of the general public starting to use the Internet at moderate levels, and was initially started as a ‘Technology Awareness Program,’ not a business. It was intended to ensure that when Black people arrived on the Internet, that they would immediately see information abut their culture there, and never fall prey to the idea that has frequently come up with other tools for personal upward mobility, of it being a ‘white thing’ that was not in compatible with our cultures.
Both Dale and I were lucky to be born at a time, place and in families where we were able to learn about and use technology to ‘write our own tickets’ in Life without the traditionally expected pre-requisites for career or business success of connections or capital.
Many of our initiatives have been motivated by our desire for others from various Black communities to see and experience what we have – careers and lives built on a foundation of choosing what we wanted to do or create, and then moving forward with our choices, without fear or concern of being blocked by external persons or institutions.
In 2021, the technology industry touches every aspect of the lives of billions across the globe, yet there is still no visible Black presence in its leadership.
While the industry likely employs hundreds of thousands of Black tech workers, there is no Black Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Tiger Woods, Williams Sisters or Barack Obama – folks who demonstrate not just ‘participation,’ but complete mastery and dominance of their field.
We believe that real equity in any industry or field of endeavor is most likely to happen only when decision makers have lived experiences, not just academic understandings, of the lives and cultures of those who are inspired and see their own possibilities through the mere existence of the leader they relate to.
Because of Obama, there will never be a time in human history where Black and Brown children will grow up like Dale and I did, wondering if there will ever be a Black US President. That very question has been erased from the collective mind of humanity, never to be asked again, and ‘US President’ is now and forever on the ‘When I Grow Up’ list of untold millions of present and future children.
We don’t just ‘believe,’ we KNOW that exposure to Black Tech entrepreneurs inspires others to follow suit, as several of our former employees are running their own tech consultancies or product companies, and whether it is us, people we inspire or people who never hear of us and start building on their own, we are certain that greater awareness of Technologies made By Us, whether or not they are like BlackFacts made For Us and About Us, but also being Owned By Us, will inspire others to imagine, act and realize a future where Tech products and services created by Black Technologists is commonplace, and the prosperity of the companies behind these products creates inter-generational wealth in more Black communities.
Everything that we have done to date, from putting urban communities, business zones and an island nation’s government online, as well as realizing the lifelong dream of W.E.B. DuBois by creating a global online repository of the past and ongoing history of Black people, so We can tell Our Stories forever in our Own Words, is the result of what just two nerds with extraordinary passion and commitment to the progress of our people have been able to do.
Imagine what could happen if more Black Technologists realized and used their power to create Technologies ‘To Uplift the Race?’
That’s what we imagine every day, and that’s why we’re still here.
Because we care.