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NewsOne is set to debut its inaugural Top 50 List, an annual collection of Black excellence that pays homage to unsung individuals who have helped change the world in invaluable ways across multiple professional sectors over the last 12 months.
While no person on the Top 50 List is more important than the other, NewsOne is especially excited to highlight Black folks making outsized contributions in science and technology, an area that is sorely lacking in diversity but also still has plenty of room to grow and be much more inclusive.
The data surrounding diversity in the science and technology industries is stunning.
Google, for instance, had just 3.7% of its nearly 50,000 employees who were Black as of last year, when the most recent statistics were available. That percentage of Black employees at the technology giant is decimated as you move up the employment ranks into executive and corporate suites.
The optics when it comes to Black people in science, however, suggests there are some serious inroads being made there in terms of diversifying the field. That is likely due in no small part to the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has helped elevate the profiles of people like Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Black woman scientist and one of three doctors who President Joe Biden named to lead the federal coronavirus task force that is following the science — not politics — in order to bring an end to this public health scourge on society.
That type of recognition for a Black leader in science runs counter to what we’ve seen in recent years as well as throughout history.
In so many instances, we must be reminded — or, in many cases, taught for the first time — about the Black people who pushed science and technology forward without getting their just due until years later. They include luminaries like Katherine Johnson, the game-changing mathematician for NASA who became immortalized on the big screen with the major Hollywood production of “Hidden Figures,” an Academy Award-winning film that debuted decades after she first made her indelible mark in the aerospace industry.
Like many other Black people in certain business sectors, Johnson never got the proper recognition she deserved in the moment. NewsOne’s Top 50 List aims to reverse that unfortunate trend by highlighting people who are currently and actively bringing positive change and pushing the culture forward in areas that include but are certainly not limited to the aforementioned science and technology, social justice, organizing and activism, education, politics, healthcare, law, philanthropy and art.
Stay tuned for NewsOne’s upcoming Top 50 List of Black excellence.