At the Kapor Center, we are working to make Oakland the home of “tech done right.” And tech, when done right, includes, recognizes, and celebrates folks from every background. This February, we are excited to present a wide range of internal and external events that celebrate our amazing colleagues of African descent and the community we love: Oakland!
How We Approach BHM
While we are passionate about Black history and culture, we know, from the research and from personal experience, that underrepresented people of color are often tasked with organizing Black History Month activities in the workplace. We are a busy office; our colleagues already have a lot on their plates, and sometimes they just aren’t interested in event planning — and that’s okay! It would negate our intentions of celebrating Black people if we were all made to participate. For that reason we were conscious to make the BHM committee voluntary and inclusive.
In the early planning stages, we entertained all kinds of ideas, brainstorms that put everything on the table. I was happy to see how we, as a team, were encouraged to put together an agenda for the month without too much predetermined structure.
Not all of our ideas made it into the final programming. We discussed everything from Black finances to amplifying intersectional voices — even a potluck where staff brought in signature family dishes. But February is a short month (which is a whole different conversation), and we had to make some tough decisions.
We hope to see you at an event this month!
Kapor Center Staff Events
We will kick off the month internally with a “Black Facts” trivia quiz during our monthly All-Hands meeting, followed by West African cuisine for lunch, as a fun introduction to Black History Month. We will also present a compilation of staff recommended favorite media celebrating Black culture, creators, and producers.
The main focus of our internal events will be a series called Conversations on Blackness, a weekly lunchtime panel discussion featuring various Kapor Center staff members. Our topics this year include:
- HBCU Alumni Represent
- Our Multiracial Families
- Our Families: From the Diaspora
- Our Families: Born in the Bay
HBCU Scholarship Gala: Saturday, January 26 | Burlingame, CA
The Northern California HBCU Alumni Associations Coalition (HBCUC) will host its Inaugural Scholarship Gala, Renewing Our Commitment To Scholarship And Education. HBCUC will honor the accomplishments of those who have used their platform and resources to positively impact the lives of students attending HBCUs. This event will be used to support their scholarship program. This highly publicized signature formal affair will be a meaningful investment and a critical link between students having greater access to higher education and the opportunity to become a part of a new generation of global leaders.
Forging a Black Future: Tech & Justice: Friday, February 1 | Kapor Center (*by invitation only)
To kick off Black History Month, the Kapor Center will be hosting a special conversation on how tech and justice can work together to strengthen Black communities.
Our special guest is Patrisse Cullors, co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter, social activist, and bestselling author of “When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.”
African-American Literature Read-In: February 4–8 | Oakland Public Schools
In a diverse city like Oakland, our students need opportunities to see themselves — and all of their classmates — in the books they read. To honor African-American Heritage Month, Oakland Education Fund is hosting a citywide appreciation of African-American writers and illustrators. From February 4–8, 2019, schools across Oakland will host volunteer read-alouds in classrooms, Family Literacy Nights, cross-grade buddy reading, and more. Sign up to volunteer here!
Porter Braswell Book Launch: Let Them See You: Wednesday, February 13 | Kapor Center (*by invitation only)
Porter Braswell, the CEO and cofounder of Jopwell, a Kapor Capital portfolio company and the leading career advancement platform for Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals, will be launching his new book Let Them See You. Let Them See You is a collection of Braswell’s straight-talking advices and mentorship for diverse careerists, from college students to mid-level professionals. It’s also an invitation for diversity champions to listen in on the guidance and perspective Braswell provides, particularly for young diverse workers — the population that will make up the majority of the US workforce by 2030.
Coalition for Black Excellence Summit & Gala: February 21–23 | San Francisco, CA
CBE’s mission is to unify and elevate the Black community. After all, this is the time and the place for building bridges, connecting talent, sharing insights, empowering careers, making waves, and driving the future of work. For the Black community, for the professional community, for current leaders, for future leaders, and for all generations of talent. The CBE Summit is where it’s activated.
The Summit is bringing together Black professionals across a variety of industries (entertainment, tech, law, health, finance, and more), to provide a unique, well-rounded educational and networking experience. It is the one-stop-shop of Black Excellence. Register here!
Black Joy Parade & Festival: Sunday, February 25 | Oakland, CA
Black Joy Parade is a hyper-positive, family-friendly turn up that celebrates the Black experience and our community’s contribution to cultures past, present and future. We invite you to come be present, be creative, be open and be free.
The Kapor Center will be marching in the parade as well as hosting a booth at the festival (come say hi!).
Celebrating Black Women in Tech: March 2019 | Oakland, CA
In March, as a bridge between Black History Month and Women’s History Month, the Kapor Center is planning an event to celebrate Black Women in Tech. Be on the lookout for more details!