Kevin L. Nichols

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Changing the conversation from diversity (the noun) to inclusion (as a verb) in tech!

Building an All-In Bay Area event

Building an All-In Bay Area event

By: Kevin L. Nichols – The Social Engineer


[April 22, 2015] OAKLAND.  Thanks to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, there has recently been a lot of talk about technology and its lack of diversity.  Some of the Silicon Valley tech giants have pledged to do something about the disparities of underrepresented minorities, women, LGBT, persons with disabilities, veterans, etc., however, it seems that there has been a lot more “talk” going on but little action.


Vator Splash is taking place today and tomorrow in Oakland.  Vator, Inc.’s mission is “to help great entrepreneurs find funding, and for investors to get in on the ground floor of tomorrow’s leading companies.  There a lot of workshops and seminars designed to marry entrepreneurs with investors, which in theory, will provide opportunities for underrepresented groups to have access to the tech world, but does not affect the tech giants or more mature startups disparities in the valley.  Similarly, the PushTech 2020 Summit will take place on May 6th.  This event will feature more panels regarding funding opportunities, a pitch competition, and supplier diversity opportunities for small businesses.  Nevertheless, at first blush, these events are not targeted at having a significant impact on moving the needle from diversity being the noun, versus inclusion being the verb in changing the face of Silicon Valley to reflect at least the population of the Bay Area, the State of California, or the nation.


Not everyone has the determination, motivation, creativity, and other qualities needed to be a successful entrepreneur.  Moreover, there is this misnomer that everyone who works at a startup in Silicon Valley is right out of college, with a computer science or engineering degree, or a coder.  There are numerous other jobs in tech that are not just hardcore science related jobs, such as sales, HR, recruiting, accounting, legal, real estate, etc. and increasing diversity in these areas makes tech more inclusive.


The way that I see it, there are three areas of focus in order to make the tech world more inclusive:


  1. Pipeline – Tech companies need to fund nonprofit organizations designed to encourage youth to pursue careers involving math, science, and engineering (AKA STEM).  There are many notable organizations such as my friends, Kimberly Bryant’s Black Girls Code, Kalimah Priforce’s Qeyno Labs, and Wayne Sutton’s BUILDUP that are making a tremendous impact inspiring youth to pursue technology.  Moreover, my friend, Professor Bryan Brown and I have partnered to expose 11-12 year olds to math and science at Stanford University’s Science in the City camp and I am planning a STEM related camping conference this fall for a 150 high school students.  Investing in the future creates the necessary pipeline to have underrepresented groups at the table when it is time to hire eligible talent.
  2. Seeking and Retaining Eligible Talent –  It is not enough to recruit at a few Black colleges, all women colleges, etc., tech companies need to also seek these individuals out at the mainstream institutions that they recruit at.  Furthermore, they need to have a retention policy/plan in place to make these underrepresented groups (which some make up 1% of the workforce based on the study referenced earlier in some cases) feel welcome and included.  At least Affirmative Action gave employers incentives to consider diverse talent before hiring them.  Tech now needs its own version of the Rooney Rule , which requires National Football League teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.
  3. Retraining Those Suffering From Age Discrimination – Surprisingly, if you are 38 or older, you are “over the hill” in Silicon Valley.  There is a huge disparity of age in tech, where older job seekers feel that they are overlooked for opportunities.  Although the younger generation has moved away from Facebook and Twitter to Snapchat and Vine, older (in this case 38+) are capable of learning coding, software languages, IT, etc., in addition to the traditional skills like accounting, finance, HR, management, legal, etc. The tech industry needs to soften it’s emphasis on the “hip culture” of t-shirts and khakis at work, playing volleyball at lunch, and the like and diversify its workforce with people that can still get the job done (and have a little fun too!).  This is in-line with President Obama’s New TechHire Initiative to provide pathways for the middle class  to get jobs.


Making the tech industry more inclusive has more benefits than meets the eye.  Today, I was fortunate enough to attend an event called “Building An All-In Bay Area” organized by the San Francisco Foundation and sponsored by PolicyLink and USC’s Program for Environmental & Regional Equity.  It basically was a satelite overview of data complied from extensive research on equity, or lack thereof, throughout the Bay Area.  For example, although the racial/ethnic composition is projected to increase until 2040, the Black population is projected to decrease.  Wages grew significantly for middle and high wage workers aged 25-64 from 1979-2012 in the Bay Area, but decreased for lower waged workers.  Lastly, people of color have lower wages and higher unemployment rates. It might be naive, but more inclusivity in the tech industry will allow people of color to earn higher paying jobs, the ability to live in the communities where they work, have their tax paying dollars be applied to the schools that their children will attend, and improve the Bay Area’s overall quality of life.


For more information about the study on Equity, please visit

Kevin L. Nichols is an entrepreneur, a legal technology, diversity, social media, and political consultant who resides in the Bay Area.  He is a passionate community organizer and activist.  Kevin is affectionately known as The Social Politician and The Social Engineer™ who is engineering a better life for the next generation, socially.  For more information, please visit


Black Men and Women Leaders in the Bay Area

Black Men and Women Leaders in the Bay Area


The Social Politician ™ is running for Delegate for Assembly District 15 on January 10, 2015

The Social Politician

The Social Politician

OK, it’s time to gear up for my first “election” (but it’s not really an election)!  For clarity, I am not running for an office, but I am running to represent the 15th Assembly District as a delegate to the California Democratic State Convention.  A delegate attends the annual convention, networks with other Democrats, represents the district, elects party officers,  promotes the California Democratic Party agenda, endorses candidates for statewide, legislative and congressional office, and votes to endorse resolutions and ballot measures.  For more information, please visit

I have an extensive background as a litigation, diversity, and social media marketing consultant who resides in Assembly District 15.  I have worked in multifaceted capacities in some of the most prolific international law firms in the country, such as Morrison & Foerster, Paul Hastings, Heller Ehrman, and Holland & Knight.  My social networking prowess and capabilities have been featured on LinkedIn’s Hall of FameYahoo’s Blog, in the Examiner,CNN MoneyMarketWatch and the Wall Street Journal.  I have worked to help elect Democrats on local, state, and federal elections as a campaign manager, field organizer, fundraiser, and social media strategist.  I am curently the Executive Director of the African American Wellness Project in Oakland.  Last year, I attended the California Democratic Convention and am prepared to take on more responsibility as an elected delegate.  My passion and desire to improve our community will be reflected in my representation of your voice for our State.


I need registered voters who live in California Assembly District 15 to show your support by voting for me and Assembly Member Tony Thurmond‘s Slate on Saturday, January 10, 2015, from 2pm-4pm (you must be in line to register to vote by 4 pm) at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave., Albany, CA 94706.  There is a $5 charge to cover election costs, but no one will be turned away.  Here is Tony’s Slate:

Wendy Bloom – Berkeley
Karen Weinstein – Berkeley
Jess Dervin-Ackerman – Oakland
Rita Xavier – San Pablo
Jovanka Beckles – Richmond
Raquel Donoso – Richmond
Kathy Chao-Rothberg – San Pablo

Alejandro Soto-Vigil – Berkeley
Brett Badelle – Oakland
Ty Alper – Berkeley
Greg Lyman – El Cerrito
Kevin L. Nichols – El Cerrito
Alex Knox – Richmond
Charlie Davidson – Hercules

California's Future Endorsed by Tony Thurmond!

California’s Future Endorsed by Tony Thurmond!

If you live within the district, which includes all or part of Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany, Kensington, Berkeley, Emeryville, and Oakland (please check to confirm), then you can vote.  If not, you can volunteer and help get other registered Democrats to the polls that do live in the district there that day!  For more information, please visit and to join my team and vote on January 10th, please visit

Thank you in advance for your time and continued support!

KLN Handwritten Singature

– Kevin L. Nichols – The Social Politician ™

Don’t forget to vote on November 4th!

You Don't Understand the Problem

[October 30, 2014]  OAKLAND.  This mid-term election is critical for our country’s future.  Rather than complaining and whining about the state of our communities, our schools, our taxes, the environment, etc., here is our opportunity to show up and make a difference.  Electing our representatives and leaders is our civic duty and we should be proud to exercise it.  The deadline has passed to mail in absentee ballots, however, it is not too late to vote in person.  November 4, 2014 is the mid-term election day in California, so if you do not know where your polling place is, please visit to input your home address to find out.

Since I am The Social Politician ™, I work tirelessly for my clients to effectively disseminate their message and reach as many potential voters as possible.  Unfortunately, I do not have any clients running in this particular election, so for the most part, I have been sitting on the sidelines until I am retained.  Nevertheless, I have many friends and colleagues running in this election, so like I have done in the past, please see their campaign websites, make donations/contributions to their campaigns if you feel compelled, and give the best candidate your vote!

State Assembly District 15

Tony Thurmond –

Kevin and Tony

U.S. Representative 15th District

Eric Swalwell –

Eric Swalwell

U.S. Representative 17th District

Mike Honda –

Mike Honda

El Cerrito City Council

Gabriel Quinto –

Gabriel Quinto

City of Richmond

Uche Justin Uwahemu –


Oakland City Council, District 2

Kevin Blackburn –


Oakland City Council, District 2

Dana King –

Dana King

Oakland City Council, District 2

Abel Guillen –

Abel Guillen

Oakland City Council, District 6

James Moore –


Oakland City Council, District 6

Desley Brooks –


Oakland City Council, District 6

Michael Johnson –

Michael Johnson 037 (2)

Oakland Mayor

Bryan Parker –

Bryan Parker

Oakland Mayor

Libby Schaaf –

libby schaaf

Oakland Mayor

Courtney Ruby –

Courtney Ruby

Oakland Mayor

Dan Siegel –

Dan Siegel

Oakland Mayor

Joe Tuman –

Joe Tuman

Oakland Mayor

Jean Quan –

Jean Quan

The Social Politician’s Latest One-Sheet

Here’s our latest and most current service offering.  If you are a candidate running for office, supporting a proposition or initiative, or a company who has a product/service to launch or would like to increase your marketing presence, please call (415) 690-7109 for a free consultation.


Atlanta Fundraiser for Congresswoman Barbara Lee is Postponed Until the Fall

2014-05-02.Barbara Lee_Atlanta Invitation-page-1

If you are interested in joining the host committee, please email  Many thanks!

The Social Politician™ attends the California Democratic State Convention


[March 20, 2014] SAN FRANCISCO.  Last weekend, I accompanied a group of volunteers that descended upon Los Angeles to encourage party unity for the office of Secretary of State.  Leland Yee, a current democratic state senator representing District 8, wanted to follow the recommendation of California Democratic Party Chair, John Burton, to not endorse a particular candidate at the state convention.  Since the new law allows the top two vote getters to be on the November ballot, theoretically, there could be two democrats on the ballot as opposed to the one candidate who would receive the party’s endorsement.  Despite Burton’s plea, there was a lot of resistance.  Nevertheless, Senator Yee was victorious in achieving a no endorsement outcome at the State Convention.

Although this was a wonderful learning experience of the real life democratic process, the trip was not all work.  In addition to attending various caucuses on issues that concern all Californians, there were numerous hospitality suites, happy hours, and party’s to celebrate various elected officials and candidates running for office.  For example, I attended a reception for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles.


I also attended a party for former San Francisco Mayor and current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome at the Westin Bonaventure.


All in all, it was an eye opening experience and I look forward to possibly being a delegate in the future.


By:  Kevin L. Nichols, The Social Politician™

Polls open from 7am-8pm Tomorrow in Atlanta for Mayor Kasim Reed

(l-r) Kevin L. Nichols, Billie Nichols, Mayor Kasim Reed, Tyra Fennell

(l-r) Kevin L. Nichols, Billie Nichols, Mayor Kasim Reed, Tyra Fennell

Calling all ATL-iens.  Your mayor and my fraternity brother, Kasim Reed, is running for reelection.  Historically, midterm elections are always challenging to get voters out.  Nevertheless, it is imperative that you exercise your right to vote.

Not only has Mayor Reed been an excellent local leader, he has gone above and beyond representing strong Democratic views on a national front by appearing on MSNBC talk shows, Meet the Press, and other network programs promoting basic core American values and supporting our President Barack Obama.

Polls open from 7am-8pm  tomorrow, so please make a point to vote for Kasim Reed.

Daughters of the Civil Rights Movement Speak on Nov. 9, 2013

Kevin L. Nichols and Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Kevin L. Nichols and Congresswoman Barbara Lee

I am pleased to co-sponsor this wonderful event.  The daughters of former President Lyndon Johnson, Civil Rights Luminary Ralph Abernathy, Alabama Governor George Wallace, and former Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy will convene in Oakland, California, for a unique discussion regarding their fathers’ legacy.

Below, please find information regarding this once and a lifetime event and the details of how to RSVP from the executive director of the Martin Luther King Freedom Center:

Barbara Lee Elihu Harris Lecture Series

These are the biographies of the four dynamic lecturers who will present at the November, 9th 7:30pm Barbara Lee & Elihu Harris Lecture Series event.


Ms. Abernathy was born in the midst of the American Civil Rights Movement to Mrs. Juanita J. and Reverend Doctor Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. who created with their best friend, Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. the nonviolent social movement which changed American History.  Her life began with the bombing of her parent’s home.  She attended all major Civil Rights Marches, and was an active participant in the integration of the elementary school system in the Georgia.  Ms. Abernathy grew up witnessing integral decisions that helped shape American laws with the creation of the Civil Rights Bill, the Public Accommodations Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the National Food Stamp Program and Affirmative Action.

Donzaleigh Abernathy is an acclaimed writer and actress. She received the Tanne Foundation Artist Award (2012) for her work. She has starred in many movies, including: “GODS AND GENERALS,” directed by Ron Maxwell; “DON KING-ONLY IN AMERICA;” “MURDER IN MISSISSIPPI;” and “THE TEMPEST.”  She has been a guest star on numerous episodes of the television shows: “Fatal Exposure;” “Amazing Grace;” “CSI;” “Chicago Hope;” and NYPD Blue.”


Luci Baines Johnson, the younger daughter of Lady Bird and President Lyndon Baines Johnson, is founder of BusinesSuites, a nationwide office business service center. A graduate of St. Edwards University with numerous honors, Ms. Johnson is a Trustee Emeritus of Boston University, Seton Medical Center’s Foundation and Dell Children’s Medical Foundation.

Luci Baines Johnson currently serves on the board of The LBJ Foundation, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, SafePlace and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Ms. Johnson’s most precious career is her family. She is married to Ian Turpin and has four grown children, Lyndon, Nicole, Rebekah, and Claudia; one stepson, Stuart; and 13 treasured grandchildren.


Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Ethel and former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, has worked as a human rights activist since 1981, leading over 40 human rights delegations to over 30 countries. At a time of diminished idealism and growing cynicism about public service, her life and lectures are testaments to the commitment to the basic value of human rights. In 1988, she established the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights to ensure protection of rights codified under the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, an organization that provides a base of support to human rights defenders.  Until 1995, she also served as executive director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, a non-profit organization that addresses problems of social justice in the spirit of Robert Kennedy. She is the author of Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World, which features interviews with human rights activists ranging from the famous Helen Prejean, Marian Wright Edelman, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Oscar Arias, to name a few.
Kennedy is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School.  She holds an honorary doctorate of law from Le Moyne College and University of San Francisco Law School and an honorary doctorate of Human Letters from Bay Path College.

Peggy Wallace Kennedy is the daughter of George C. Wallace and Lurleen Wallace, who both were governors of Alabama. For 50 years Peggy Wallace Kennedy has lived in the shadow cast by her father, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace, when he stood in a doorway and tried to stop two black students-Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood- from integrating the University of Alabama.

That single episode in the American civil rights movement – his infamous “stand in the schoolhouse door” – attached an asterisk to her name, she says. It’s a permanent mark she can never erase, despite her own history as a moderate Democrat who gave early support to candidate Barack Obama for president in 2008. In 2009, invited by Congressman John Lewis on the Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage, Peggy Wallace Kennedy stood with the Congressman and others to remember “Bloody Sunday” – the day in 1965 when her father’s state troopers attacked voting rights marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. In Selma in 2009, she introduced U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder – Vivian Malone Jones’ brother-in-law – and they shared a wish that Jones had lived to see the moment. Then she marched across the bridge holding hands with U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who was severely beaten during “Bloody Sunday.”

Peggy Wallace Kennedy has spoken in universities and gatherings across the nation in support of President Barack Obama. She offers her thought, “Today, Barack Obama is hope for a better tomorrow for all Americans. He stands on the shoulders of all those people who have incessantly prayed for a day when “justice will run down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24).
She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband, Mark Kennedy, a retired Alabama Supreme Court justice. They have two sons, Leigh, a decorated veteran of the Iraq war, and Burns, a college sophomore.

The Barbara Lee & Elihu Harris lecture Series event will be held NOVEMBER 9th, 7:30 pm, Oakland City Marriott.  To RSVP, please call 510-434-3988

Thank you.

For a stronger democracy,

Roy Wilson, EdD
Executive Director
Martin Luther King Jr Freedom Center
12500 Campus Drive
Oakland, California 94609

Congratulations Cory Booker!

Kevin L. Nichols and Mayor Cory Booker

Kevin L. Nichols and Mayor Cory Booker

After a tenacious fight for the special election seat of the New Jersey United States Senate, Newark Mayor, Cory Booker, was elected on October 16, 2013.

Much like President Obama, who lost his grand mother days before the election, Booker’s father did not get the opportunity to see his son elected as a U.S. Senator.  He passed just days before the election.

Nonetheless, I am truly excited and blessed to have had the opportunity to fundraise for Booker and spread his message throughout the world via social media.  Congratulations Senator Booker and I look forward to more fascinating things to come from you.