The Stony Brook Computing Society (SBCS) held a charity stream on Friday, June 19, to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Twitch stream, which was held on Juneteenth and raised $850, featured streamers MatthiasReX, Fleshmonk and HungryHooligan playing Overwatch, a first-person, team-based shooter game. Donations went to the non-profit organization Code2040, which works to strengthen the presence of Black and Latinx communities in tech and innovation industries.
“The world is a crazy place right now, and too many people are afraid for both their professional future and their lives,” Isabelle Greenburg, president of SBCS and senior computer science major, said. “This is the reason we chose Code2040 to support on Juneteenth, as they provide the necessary programs and assistance to help Black/Latinx technologists.”
The tech industry has struggled with diversifying its workforce, with Latinx, Blacks and mixed ethnicities making up less than 10% of the employees at Microsoft, Google and Facebook. Apple boasts the highest at 16% in 2018, a single percent higher than its employee demographics four years prior.
Rahul Sondhi, former president of SBCS and currently enrolled in his masters of business administration for computer science, joined the stream as HungryHooligan, one of the featured streamers.
“Starting out in any field is a challenge as it is, so I can’t imagine how it must feel for Black/Latinx people in technology,” Sondhi said over Facebook Messenger. “The systemic injustice that they face everyday is completely unfair, so as the previous President of SBCS and as a member of the Twitch Community, I knew I had to help.”
Based on research released in 2018, over 70% of creators and viewers from Twitch’s streaming community identify as white.
Since the death of George Floyd, the Twitch community has been highly active in speaking out against racism and providing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Shawn Whiting, a Seattle-based streamer and video game designer, has been streaming the city’s Black Lives Matter protests. In early June, Black streamers on the platform called for streaming brands to issue statements on racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement.
During the height of the protests, the Black Lives Matter movement was among the most-watched content on the platform. The #BLACKLIVESMATTER tags were included by over 1500 channels during the movement’s peak.