Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee is working with several Congressional Black Caucus members to speak up for Black tech employees who are being disproportionately laid off. In a letter to Julie Su, the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor,  Lee and her colleagues said they’re concerned about the high rate of Black employees losing their jobs in the tech industry.

“We write to express our concerns with recent reports highlighting the impacts of widespread layoffs within the tech industry and its disproportionate impacts on the African American community and women,” the advocates wrote, according to The Grio. “Tech companies who previously agreed to address bias and discrimination and create greater opportunities in the workforce are now quietly defunding diversity pledges.”

In 2015, the Congressional Black Caucus Diversity Task Force launched the CBC Tech 2020 Initiative, aiming to increase diversity in the tech industry.

“Technology has revolutionized our lives and continues to be a driving force in our economy. African Americans must be included in every aspect of this technological revolution — not just as end users or as a market share,” Lee said in a statement at the time.

The California Congresswoman now continues to demand for the tech industry to be held accountable.

“We’ve been fighting for justice and for economic parity and security as part of the mission of the CBC,” Lee told The Grio. “And so when we established Tech 2020, it was about equity and inclusion.”

According to the letter from the CBC, over 240,000 tech workers have been laid off since the start of 2023. That’s a 50% increase from the previous year. A majority of the employees that have been let go in 2023 are women and minorities, Lee said.

“Now with all the Supreme Court decisions and with all of the backsliding, especially by Republicans, it’s very important that we be very assertive in our fight for equity and justice within the private sector and public sector,” Lee said to The Grio.

The CBC is still waiting for a response from the Department of Labor.

“The letter was sent to the secretary of labor, and it’s the federal government’s job to conduct oversight and to answer these questions,” Lee said.

She continued, “I would hope that the tech companies would welcome this so that they can get their act together and make sure that they don’t disproportionately lay off African-Americans, which is occurring right now.”