In an interview with HBCU digest, April Curley discusses the struggle for Black employees at Google, its culture of marginalizing talent from historically Black institutions, her thoughts on the meeting between Google and HBCU executives, and the challenges that Black women specifically face in the tech industry.
In December 2020 Curley detailed in a series of tweets, her struggles as a diversity recruiter as she worked to bring more Black and Brown tech talent from HBCUs into the search giant, and her own experience facing discrimination from managers.
The revelation that a manager told her she should disclose her Baltimore accent as a disability made headlines internationally.
I'm finna tell yall why @Google fired me- their MOST successful diversity recruiter in the history of their company- with the receipts to support that statement.
— Real Abril🌈 (@RealAbril) December 21, 2020
She started at Google in 2014, helping the company improve its relationships with historically Black colleges and universities. Before taking the job, Curley tweeted that the company had not
“hired a single HBCU student into a tech role.”
Six years later, Curley tweeted that she had
“brought in over 300 Black and Brown students from HBCUs who were hired into [engineering] roles.”
Curley’s departure from Google is the second public dispute this month between the leadership of the company and Black women who have been celebrated for success in the tech field. Earlier this month, one of Google’s top female executives, Timnit Gebru — a highly respected research scientist, well known for her advocacy for increased diversity in the tech industry — said she also had been fired. The company’s head of research said Gebru had resigned.