Black under representation in technology companies and start-ups has been present since the earliest days of the industry. In reflecting on my journey in tech, I, too, witnessed and experienced racism in many forms. The complexities of raising funds and being a founder of a start up is already difficult enough, but there are even more barriers and difficulties in place when you are black at that.

The history of racism in the tech space harmonizes with and is still relevant in today’s tech era. When I started KaJ Labs, back in 2015, so much of my journey in tech felt like the odds were against me. Statistically speaking, only 1 percent of venture capital dollars went to black start-up founders in 2018. Black founders are often under-invested, and as a black founder entering the tech space, it was difficult raising money and accessing the right resources compared to my white counterparts.

We often see the disproportionate effects black founders go through when raising capital, especially when dealing with daily subtleties of funding such as closing deals, hiring, and recruiting in tech, which I experienced innumerable times. The tech industry prides and values itself on innovation and global opportunity; however, its workforce is homogeneous. In the tech world, black founders are too often used to cover up a lack of diversity. Token hires don’t change diversity in your company, delivering core changes do.

But to change the systematic racial injustices and inequalities black founders face in tech, it’s going to take collaboration and black economic empowerment.

As the founder of KaJ Labs, I am optimistic that change will occur in the tech industry, and I am willing and able to do my part. Today, KaJ Labs is pledging $50 million over the next ten years to NAACP, Black Lives Matter, Know Your Rights Camp & the Equal Justice Initiative, among others, seek to support education and justice for Black communities across the U.S. KaJ Labs is also offering free resources like hosting and other cloud services to tech start-ups who have gone through similar battles like ours. We are also in ongoing talks with NAACP to help bridge disparities present and provide resources and funding to African-Americans.

Technology is deemed one of the world’s most cumulative and forward-thinking industries, yet diversity and inclusion are notably absent from venture capital firms. If we genuinely want diverse and inclusive opportunities for black tech start-ups, we need to move beyond tokenism and start providing equal opportunity to ensue effective change. I am committed to doing my part and taking the steps that corporations and individuals can take to bring about much-needed change.