Innovation & Equity Jan. 15, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO — From the hanging chads of Florida in 2000 to elections in emerging nations like Afghanistan, the sanctity of the vote is one of the most pressing challenges.  For Dr. Juan Gilbert, the challenge became an opportunity to demonstrate human centered computing.
On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he will demonstrate a user-friendly voting system that solves many of those accessibility challenges to local election officials. when he joins dozens of other African-American technology innovators.  The Clemson University professor says, “Our goal is to change the world.”
Likewise, Mary Spio led Boeing’s satellite communications by age 26, but saw how to use the technology to distribute motion pictures digitally.  Her four patents are the foundation of today’s digital cinema.
Gilbert, Spio and other masters of the digital universe in gaming, robotics, cinema, bioengineering and IT services are coming together for an historic gathering of cutting edge pacesetters during Innovation & Equity: 10th Annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology Symposium Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 in San Francisco at Pier One.

More than two dozen of the selectees are expected to hear speakers such as Dr. William Spriggs, deputy secretary of labor for policy; Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, Monique Morris, vice president for research and advocacy of the NAACP, Speaker Karen Bass of the California Assembly and Lena Robinson, Northern California community development manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
A panel discussion In The Game: Cutting Edge Innovators in Gaming, Robotics and Interactivity features academic and commercial superstars like Drs. Andrew Williams of Spelman College and Elva Jones of Winston-Salem State and Juan Gilbert of Clemson Universities;  with Joseph Saulter, CEO of Entertainment Arts Research; Jonathan Eubanks, COO of Music Mogul.
Participants will discuss the findings of the ninth annual report, which finds 616,000 African-Americans in information technology jobs in its state by state breakdown of entrepreneurship, education and employment.   By addressing a series of innovation issues, they hope to create a national agenda for innnovation and equity, addressing policy, finance and learning.
Honored during the event will be early pioneers like Dr. Frank Greene, who died at 71 in late December.  Greene is featured in the documentary Freedom Riders of the Cutting Edge.
The symposium is the kickoff for a national innovation competition to find promising technology ventures in every state as a strategy for increasing employment and improving neighborhoods.
San Francisco-based eAccess Corp. has presented the list since 1999. The purpose is to raise the profile of African-Americans in cutting edge, mission-critical fields. Profiles can be found at

Register for the symposium online.