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Jackson takes diversity fight to Silicon Valley

There is a serious lack of diversity among the management ranks at U.S.-based technology companies and that must change, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson Sr. told CNBC on Tuesday.

Rev. Jesse Jackson
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Rev. Jesse Jackson

"[We] want to end the opportunity inequality, which drives the income inequality and drives the ownership inequality," Jackson, president and founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said on "Squawk Alley."

Although Jackson thinks corporate America in general lacks diversity, he has zeroed in on the tech industry. Jackson recently attended shareholder meetings at both Google and Facebook to raise his concerns. In response, Google reversed its decision and announced plans to release diversity information about its workforce starting in June. Facebook said it plans to do the same in the future.

"These very visible companies, the fastest-growing industry in America and in the world today, have exclusive patterns relative to boards and C-suites and employment and IPOs," Jackson said. "We think these companies should be vertically, horizontally reflective of their consumer base."

Tech companies could increase diversity, if only they made it a priority, he charged.

"These companies work hard to bring in foreign guest workers. They work hard to get tax breaks. They work hard to get government contracts," he said. "They have some obligation under the laws of affirmative action and contract compliance and equal opportunity for all Americans."

—By CNBC's Drew Sandholm.

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