avatar for Zanette Johnson

Zanette Johnson

StreetCode Academy
Director of Research & Program Design
Since 2014, StreetCode Academy has been addressing the extreme underrepresentation of black and brown innovators in the innovation economy by offering free, high-touch, high-quality coding, entrepreneurship, and design classes in East Palo Alto and surrounding communities of color.

Addressing access to high-quality, culturally relevant, and effective innovation environments is important because tech and innovation is the engine to economic growth, and, according to Stanford Professor Raj Chetty, there are "Lost Einsteins" — largely black and brown kids — who are being left out of this economy. According to his research, if these Lost Einsteins were exposed to technology at the same rates as their white counterparts, we would have four times as many inventors, benefiting not just America today but the future of our world.

Furthermore, Rev. Jesse Jackson calls tech inclusion the “biggest civil rights issue of our era.” As we transition from an industrial economy to an innovation one, the technology industry must become more inclusive. Latino and Black employees make up less than 3% of large tech companies’ workforce. This session will discuss how to participate in the movement to address the absence of innovators of color in tech and find the next generation of innovation leaders.