Techies from across the country and the world have come together this week to celebrate diversity in the tech industry.
The first ever Black Tech Week is taking place this week with events all around Miami.
Twenty-two-year-old Delane Parnell works for a venture capital firm that funds tech startups. This makes him a hot commodity at Black Tech. Parnell was a speaker at one of the events at the conference.
“I’ve spoken at very large events, a thousand people. I mean, I run my own events series in Michigan. In some cases, because of the makeup of the crowd, you oftentimes don’t feel comfortable enough. Because especially as an African American, the majority of people in [venture capital] are young white males,” said Parnell.
Felecia Hatcher and her husband, Derick Pearson, live in Miami and founded Black Tech Week last year. They were frustrated with having to hop on a plane to get to diversity tech conferences.
“Miami’s really shaping up to be a model city of what diversity really looks like from a technology standpoint, which is really cool,” said Hatcher.
Michael Hall is one of the organizers and speakers at the conference. One of the events this week on South Beach demonstrated to him the importance of bringing a diversity tech conference to Miami.
“We had the location till 9 o’clock. At 8:55, people were pretty much begging for us to give them another location to continue the conversation. We went to 11th Street Diner, turned the tables outside into a U and started a whole conversation all over again,” said Hall. “So it’s things like that when you realize that people of color don’t have the same collision points to come together and collaborate. But when you give them those opportunities, they make the best of them.”
Black Tech Week continues through Saturday. Don’t let the name fool you — all techies are welcome to the events.