Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced a $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative to promote racial equality as a time when several US states are facing protests over the death of African-American George Floyd. The initiative would be led by Apple Vice President Lisa Jackson.
"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," Cook tweeted on Thursday. "Today, I'm proud to announce Apple's Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, with a $100 million commitment," he said, adding that the initiative will challenge the systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity that exists for communities of colour and particular for the Black community.
Cook said the initiative will lead to "changes that touch just about everything we do." He earlier stressed that right now, there is a pain deeply etched in the soul of the nation and in the hearts of millions. "To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognize the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism," Cook said in a recent memo to employees.
"That painful past is still present today e not only in the form of violence but in the everyday experience of deeply rooted discrimination," he added. Cook said that there has been progress since America he grew up in, "but it is similarly true that communities of colour continue to endure discrimination and trauma".
"At Apple, our mission has and always will be to create technology that empowers people to change the world for the better. "For all of our colleagues hurting right now, please know that you are not alone and that we have resources to support you," Cook noted. Apple has also updated Siri to respond differently to the phrase "all lives matter," which has become a common retort to "Black Lives Matter" in the US and elsewhere.