Story at a glance

  • Apple is planning on launching several educational and funding commitments later in 2021.
  • The initiatives stem from Black Lives Matter protests.

Building on its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) sparked by the civil rights protests of 2020, tech behemoth Apple announced a series of new projects included under the initiative in a move to “help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color.”

Apple’s launch of its REJI was a result of Black Lives Matter protests surrounding the death of Geroge Floyd in May 2020. While Floyd was killed in police custody, protests decried the lingering socioeconomic inequalities for Black Americans, Indigenous Americans, and people of color (BIPOC).

The REJI is supported by $100 million in funding.

Some of the projects Apple outlined include its proprietary Propel Center, which is meant to function as a learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), an Apple Developer Academy for programming education specifically for Detroit students, and venture capital funding for businesses run by Black and Brown entrepreneurs. 

“We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO said in a press release. “We’re launching REJI’s latest initiatives with partners across a broad range of industries and backgrounds — from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community organizers to justice advocates — working together to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long.”

The Propel Center will make its debut as a physical campus at the Atlanta University Center in Georgia, but will be accompanied by a virtual platform with curriculums on AI and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creative arts, career preparation, and entrepreneurship.

The developer academy opening in downtown Detroit will offer different course programs ranging from one month to a year long session aimed at cultivating coding, design, and marketing skills.

“We are honored to help bring this vision to bear, and to match our words and actions to the values of equity and inclusion we have always prized at Apple,” Cook added.

Published on Jan 13, 2021