Tomorrow's Tech Stars Sound Off On Why Silicon Valley Should Embrace Diversity

"I wouldn't be able to get into Facebook ... if they don't change their percentages in minorities."

Teens from Oakland, California, are speaking out to change the serious dearth of African-American and Latino workers at major tech companies in Silicon Valley.

The young people featured in the video above see themselves as the nation's future tech leaders. They learned to code from organizations and campaigns that teach underrepresented groups, like Black Girls Code, Brothers Code and The Hidden Genius Project. Several of them were featured in the short film, "Code Oakland," which follows the organizations as they spread computer literacy to youth of color. The video, released this week, shows the teens talking about their experiences with coding.

Despite their big dreams, the teens are painfully aware that they don't look like the white males who dominate the tech world.

"Companies like Google and Facebook, they're very powerful," says one of the teens, Isaiah. "And they're also very progressive and liberal companies. But according to demographics, there's only like 2 percent of African-Americans at Google and Facebook."

"I wouldn't be able to get into Facebook, have a programming job or anything if they don't change their percentages in minorities," says another teen, named George.

The teens spoke on a panel in May after a showing of "Code Oakland." Kelly Amis, the filmmaker behind "Code Oakland," said there was hardly a dry eye in the audience after the teens spoke.

"I hope we can get everyone in Silicon Valley -- owners, leaders and workers -- to listen to these students," Amis told The Huffington Post. "It could be such a win-win situation."

Amis continued: "These kids represent what is here. There are a lot of people in Oakland looking for jobs, looking for tech jobs, and they're wondering why they're not represented in companies that are located in driving distance."

Popular in the Community