The below statement can be attributed to Amie Stepanovich, Silicon Flatirons Executive Director.
At Silicon Flatirons we believe unequivocally that Black Lives Matter, and we stand unwavering in our opposition to racial violence as well as any systemic racism, oppression, and bias.
Our mission is to provide a place for everyone to come together and discuss important issues in order to build stronger and more resilient tech law and policy and help prepare our students and entrepreneurial community for the conversations that lay ahead.
To do this, we are nonpartisan and refrain from adopting positions on the substantive issues on which we work.
However, those conversations are not meaningful unless they are inclusive and accessible to everyone impacted. We endeavor to be a place where people of any race, creed, gender, or background can respectfully come together.
The tech sector has a representation gap, and reports have indicated that efforts to remedy it may not be addressing the core problems. I have written before on the importance of inclusion in tech, and it’s more vital than ever. Today’s tools are building the foundation for the future, and while significant advancements like general artificial intelligence may still be immeasurably far away, the frameworks we are creating will likely underpin continued development.
The policy frameworks guiding the development and use of new technologies must be built through inclusive processes, and in consideration of the often disparate impacts of both the benefits and harms resulting from technological deployment. That cannot happen in a society where systemic racism derails equal access to healthcare, employment, education, and the justice system. People living in fear that their every move can be misinterpreted and that others can weaponize privilege against them are inherently hindered in their contributions, and for that we are all worse off.
Silicon Flatirons continues to address issues of inequity and representation, to be better allies and advocates, and to provide space to promote the voices who are too often overlooked.
We will soon codify inclusion as one of Silicon Flatirons’ operational principles, and create processes to ensure it is at the heart of all we do. I am personally available to any community member — student, alumni, or friend — who would like to discuss our plans and how we can continue to improve.