Detroit Today: The Detroiters creating a more inclusive tech industry

Two native Detroiters are working to change the often white-exclusive nature of the tech industry.

illustration of two faces overlayed with circuit boards

Technology shapes the way we talk, work and play — much of it is also created by majority white and male tech founders.  The result of that is various communities getting overlooked when creating products.

For example, ChatGPT detectors falsely accuse students who don’t speak English of plagiarism and AI facial recognition frequently discriminates against Black individuals. 

Two Black Detroiters are working to create a more inclusive tech industry by building community through a variety of initiatives. That includes Black Tech Saturdays — a meeting group which fosters the growth of Black tech — and a software development conference called Hacking with the Homies.

Listen: How Detroiters are creating a more inclusive tech industry.


Johnnie Turnage is the founder of Black Tech Saturdays, as well as the founder and CEO of Even Score an online platform that makes grassroots donations easier. Turnage says he’s trying to create supportive, culturally competent networks in the tech industry. 

“I share my investors, I share my mentors, and [practice] that culture to try to pull people forward,” Turnage says. 

Jeseekia Vaughn is a software engineer, tech educator and co-founder of various initiatives including Detroit Black Tech and TrainX.AI — all created to educate and support those looking to break into the tech industry as adults. Vaughn says, as a child growing up in Detroit who had an affinity for math and science, she had no knowledge of how to work in the engineering field.

“There was something about finding out that there was this whole [STEM] world,” says Vaughn. “That I had no idea of that really disturbed me.”

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