Having been mostly silent over the past 10 years about his experiences with racial discrimination and police abuse, Andre Swanston, CEO and co-founder of over-the-top data marketplace Tru Optik, has shared many of these with his colleagues in a personal letter, and here, in this interview with Beet.TV
Like many young black men, Swanston has been subject to multiple random police stops and searches with guns drawn. He’s been handcuffed with no charges or arrests.
He is now sharing this with his industry colleagues to bring into focus, in a personal way, the reality of black Americans and the issues of racial injustice.
In the interview, he urges greater diversity and inclusion in the adtech world and calls for better STEM training and coding for young people of color to fill engineering roles.
Backed by venture capital, Tru Optik is part of the slim 1 percent of VC-funded companies that are headed by a black CEO. He says that disparity is a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed.
Shocked and saddened by recent events, Swanston thinks we are going through a positive time where the notion of Black Lives Matter, which was marginalized by many when founded about five years ago, is now widely accepted. Finally, “the lives of certain people have value,” he says.
This video is part of an ongoing Beet.TV series of interviews with men and and women of color, addressing their personal experiences and hopes for essential change addressing racial inequality.