Editor’s note: William “Bill” Spruill is the co-founder and CEO of Global Data Consortium. He originally published this piece on his LinkedIn account.

RALEIGH — I read a piece in the news yesterday that clearly highlighted the choice we have before us as a community. The headline read: “Microsoft diversity pledge draws scrutiny from U.S. Labor Dept.”

The synopsis is that Microsoft made a pledge back in June to increase the number of blacks and people of color within its management ranks.

This week, the current Justice Department sent Microsoft a letter stating that the tech giant needed to prove that its efforts are not “illegal race-based decisions.” We could get into the meat of the letter and try to parse what it means but we all KNOW what it means. There is no interpretation needed here.

Microsoft, Wells Fargo insist efforts to boost diversity are not discriminatory

Blacks and people of color make up roughly 4 percent of Microsoft’s employee ranks and less than 3 percent of its management ranks. Of 163,000 employees worldwide, roughly 6,000 are black or people of color. WORLDWIDE.

The company is seeking to level up after years and years of imbalance. The current administration says that this effort might be illegal. Huh? Proactively seeking to find, recruit and groom more people of color to advance them into management might be illegal and we are going to investigate you …

For those of you who have made your decision to support the current administration, this is what you are supporting. Own it aloud. For those of you sitting on the fence, think about what you are doing and saying to me, your friends, peers and to your kids. Supporting this type of subversive action is wrong. IT IS WRONG.

Democracy comes with freedom and it comes with responsibility.

To Microsoft, Wells Fargo and all of the others who are standing in the light and making sincere efforts to change I say THANK YOU. For those organizations and people that seek to turn their heads or hide by saying nothing at all I say …


Global Data’s Bill Spruill says effort to support minority bank is paying off