Story at a glance
- Apple CEO Tim Cook announces new company initiative to improve company’s diversity.
- This comes as major corporations face scrutiny over their efforts to support social equality.
Apple is the latest company to pledge a sizable portion of its funds to promote racial equality and social justice following civil rights protests after the death of George Floyd.
The tech behemoth’s CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter on Thursday to announce the investment of $100 million in its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.
The unfinished work of racial justice and equality call us all to account. Things must change, and Apple’s committed to being a force for that change. Today, I’m proud to announce Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, with a $100 million commitment. pic.twitter.com/AoYafq2xlp
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) June 11, 2020
“The initiative will challenge systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity that exist for communities of color, and particularly for the black community, with special focus on issues of education, economic equality and criminal justice reform,” Cook explained in the video.
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The Racial Equity and Justice Initiative will begin in the U.S., but aims to establish an international presence in time. It will be headed by Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives.
Prior to working with Apple, Jackson was the former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appointed by former President Obama. She was the first African American woman to hold the position.
Cook further elaborated that the initiative will focus on Apple’s existing relationships with historically black colleges and universities, STEM programs, community colleges and underprivileged schools. It will also forge new partnerships with social justice groups such as the Equal Justice Initiative.
Cook also noted that the company will be announcing a new development program exclusively for black software developers “with the goal of fostering and lifting up the brightest lights and best ideas in the developer family.”
Apple also plans to increase its spending on black-owned supply chain and professional services partners.
A number of large corporations have spoken out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which in turn has cast speculation over their own contribution to the movement, namely in the form of hiring a diverse workforce.
Earlier this week, sportswear company Adidas said it would reserve 30 percent of its new jobs for people of color, including black and Hispanic Americans. Likewise, makeup retailer Sephora said it would commit 15 percent of overall shelf space to black-owned beauty companies.
In the tech space, The Verge reports that other Silicon Valley pillars such as Amazon, Facebook and Google have each donated between $10 million to $12 million to racial and social justice organizations and programs.
Cook joined these companies, confirming it is taking “significant steps” on diversity and inclusion within the company’s hiring.
“There is more that we can and must do to hire, develop and support underrepresented groups, especially our black and brown colleagues,” Cook said.
“The burden of change must not fall on those who are underrepresented. It falls heaviest on those in positions of power, leadership and influence to change structures for the greater good,” Cook concluded.
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