Serena Williams Is Adding Another Feat to Her Resume—Joins SurveyMonkey’s Board of Directors

Tennis star Serena Williams has fought many battles on the courts during her legendary career—amassing over 39 Grand Slam titles and countless other accolades, but she’s about to embark on a journey of a different kind. A boardroom deep in the heart of Silicon Valley. Online poll-taking company SurveyMonkey announced her appointment this week, in an attempt to push their environment (and in turn the makeup of Silicon Valley) in a more diverse path. They certainly couldn’t have found a better representative.

In a statement to the Associate Press, Williams said that she feels like “diversity is something [she speaks] to, adding that “Change is always happening, change is always building. What is important to me is to be at the forefront of the change and to make it easier for the next person that comes behind me.” There are no open specifics of what her time as a board member will entail, or what she’s being compensated but this is certainly more of a statement by the company more than anything else. The tech industry has been under an enormous amount of pressure to display diversity among the hundreds of companies that reside in Silicon Valley—especially considering that their culture has been playing up this very fact. For example, of the 650 people that work at SurveyMonkey, only 14% of them are African American, Latino or people identifying as another race and only 27% of those employed there are women. To them, hiring Williams could be the start of an increased focus on diversity, something that has been a struggle for Silicon Valley for years. “My focus is to bring in change agents around the table who can open our eyes,” SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie said of the move.

Williams, who is connected to the company through her friend Sheryl Sandberg (who is also on the board of directors at SurveyMonkey), is already set to hit the ground running. Her interest in the tech industry has only grown more frequent due to her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohania, and now she’s ready to jump in “the deep end of the pool,” she said in a statement. “When I do something, I go all out.”

Celebrate America’s Diversity with Gap’s New Summer Ad

In Gap’s new summer ad, they used real people from the streets to model their summer clothing line. Gap continues its approach to multicultural youth in the US by creating ads that are relatable to the changing face of America and the way we consume advertisements. “I am Gap” also is also set as a vertical video frame to emulate the way consumers are creating social content on Instagram and Snapchat.

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May Day

In a sign of solidarity and pride, May first marks “May Day” where people will participate in marches across the nation to fight for minorities and workers’ rights. More than 100,000 people are expected to participate in the march in Los Angeles alone. In an effort of coming together, protesters are defining the march as one of unity and resistance during a time of great divide in our nation.

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Making History: This Latina Is the First Undocumented Student to Earn a PhD

Mexican-born California native Gloria Montiel is breaking barriers and making history—literally. After becoming the first high school student from Santa Ana High School to attend Harvard in 2005, she has just made history in becoming the first undocumented student to earn a Phd from Claremont University.

Taking advantage of Barack Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) initiative—which he enacted in 2012 to give undocumented students a chance to gain higher education, Gloria strived to prove her detractors wrong. Though the journey didn’t come without struggle. “I said, ‘I want to go to Harvard,” she recalled to Ed. Magazine adding that a former classmate in her freshman year of high school said: ‘Don’t you know Mexican girls don’t go to Harvard?” This heartbreak only drove her to pull off a “miracle.” Taking on babysitting jobs to cover the rest of her tuition, she did—graduating from Harvard’s Education Master program in 2011.

Montiel spent most of her post-grad life educating people like her who may not know that they have the same opportunities and rights to education as other students do—mentoring prospective students about the same lessons she learned. Gloria’s story is the same as many people like her in America, especially in the turbulent times we live in today. However, she remains hopeful and determined in showing those people that they have one thing left—hope. In an interview with Univision she said: “I hope my story gives people a little bit of hope at a time when people are living in fear. However, it’s also proof of what’s possible to achieve.” It looks like she’s on the right path, as usual, already. 

Asian Culture Gets “Whitewashed” Again

With heightened attention on diversity and culture, you would think major Hollywood films would take notice. The newest film by Paramount Ghost in the Shell with lead actress Scarlett Johansson is the newest culprit in whitewashing films. The original character from the source material is Japanese and fans made their voices heard by using the films own marketing promotion. The film created a meme generator for fans to create their own creative content; many used it to promote Rinko kikuchi who fans thought should have been casted as the lead role.

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Nike Gets Inclusive With the ‘Pro Hijab’

In a time of great diversity, inclusion has never been stronger. Nike is one of the largest and most recognizable brands in the world, and has been on a big push for equality “Inspiration and Innovation for Every Athlete of the World”. Most recently Nike unveiled their equality campaign that features some of the biggest athlete of our time and supports all athletes no matter where they come from.

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Get ready for “Get Out”

Jordan Peele is set to make his directorial debut with his horror film “Get Out” starring Daniel Kaluuya. In this film, which he also wrote and produced, Jordan Peele takes a bold move to address race with a horror twist. In his fearless manner, Peele sets up a story with an African-American man who’s meeting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time, but she has not told them he’s black. The film proceeds to take a horror twist, as the main character encounters other African-American people who work at his girlfriend’s parents estate and seem a little off.

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A Day Without Immigrants

As the persecution of immigrants continues in our nation, “A Day Without Immigrants”, has quickly risen to popularity and encourages all to support migrants in these testing times. The protest calls for immigrants, whether naturalized citizens or undocumented, to stay home from work or school, close their businesses and not spend any money, as a way to protest the Trump administration’s stance on immigrants. The purpose is to show the economic power of immigrants in our nation and how we should support them and not push them way.

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African-American Women Behind the Space Race

February is Black History Month, and was first officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976, only 41 years ago. The purpose of Black History Month is to recognize black achievements and celebrate trailblazer who overcame major obstacles. The United States still lives under a very dark history because of slavery and the slave trade. On paper, America stood for freedom. But that freedom was denied to black America. White America, lived in a privileged world that denied human rights to others who look different.

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Diversity Grows in the World of Oscar

As the Hollywood favorite “La La Land” continues to dominate the award season, it came to no surprise as the film brought in 14 nominations. But one major aspect to celebrate is the rise in diversity in the nominees. After receiving harsh criticism with #OscarsSoWhite last year, the Academy made major strides to diversify.

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