What inclusion means to me and how to get started

By April 23, 2021April 30th, 2021Blog, Diversity & Inclusion

Written by Maemalynn Meanor, Senior Public Relations Manager at The Linux Foundation

Diversity and inclusion initiatives have taken stage at businesses worldwide, especially in technology companies that have long noted that women and other diverse groups are underrepresented. The first step is acknowledging the problem. The second step is committing to helping the situation by creating a solution. Even though many leaders are taking steps in the right direction, there’s still a lot of work to be done with diversity recruiting, hiring and promoting.

Tech companies are inching along at a glacial pace toward diverse representation and inclusion. It’s time to do more than talk. Now it’s time for accountability and consequences. We need to create the inclusion atmosphere because the world is a scary place. And we need to prioritize things now, more than ever, to make sure our industry is not part of the problem but rather the solution.

I’ve worked at The Linux Foundation for several years now and last year, like everyone else, was very stressful for me. Not only because suddenly my work area was invaded by my family but also because I became a part-time 4th grade teacher, 6th grade teacher and the lunch lady on top of my full-time job. If that wasn’t enough, the fear of COVID-19 and not being able to see my elderly parents took its toll on me.

Then the violence against Asian Americans started. According to a recent report in NBC news, Anti-Asian hate crimes increased 150% in 2020 with most attacks happening in New York and Los Angeles. But it’s not limited to those places – it’s happening everywhere – and most of these attacks go unreported.

In fact, there were several reports of attacks of elderly people in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose. Volunteers rallied and now roam the streets in an effort to help pedestrians to their destinations who might be a target.

Not to mention the deadly Atlanta spa shooting in March 2021. These attacks and hate has rocked the Asian American community to its core. Even my own. You know it’s bad when your 12-year-old feels the need to slide a pocketknife in her hoodie when accompanying me to run errands “just in case.”

It’s going to be a slow healing process that is going to need a movement. A big one. I don’t have the answers but I do know that people and projects who are making a difference and pushing for diversity and inclusion are the people I want to be around. Luckily, Open Mainframe Project is one of them.

Led by John Mertic, director of program management at the Linux Foundation, Open Mainframe Project is rooted in diversity. In fact, women comprise 35% of our open mainframe project leadership through our governing board, technical advisory council, outreach committee, and Linux Foundation staff. This percentage increases when you add in the leading contributors in various projects.

This year, in an effort to increase diversity and inclusion in the mainframe industry, Open Mainframe Project partnered with Broadcom Mainframe Software, IBM, Rocket Software, TechChannel and VirtualZ Computing on an initiative, “Making Our Community, Stronger,” that will produce a series of conversations via webinars and articles about different diversity and inclusion views, strategies, best practices and experiences.

The second webinar in the series, “How Personal Experiences Shape Corporate Inclusion,” will take place on Wednesday, April 28 at 9 am PT/ 11 am CT/12 pm EST. Dr. Gloria Chance, President and CEO of the Mousai Group, will moderate the conversation while Ashley Peterson, Product Marketing Manager at IBM Z and LinuxONE; Jeff Henry, VP Strategy, Product Management & Design Mainframe Software Division at Broadcom, Sharra Owens-Schwartz, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Senior Director at Rocket Software; and Jerry Chaupradit, Manager, IBM Z Enterprise Networking Solutions at IBM, will share their personal journeys and more.

Register for the event here.

My hope for this initiative is that it makes an impact and spreads like wildfire so that more organizations and more people come together to ensure that our communities – both our physical world and the mainframe and technology industry – are a diverse and safe place for everyone.

Other resources: