Apple Commits $100 Million To Racial Justice Initiative, CEO Tim Cook Recalls Growing Up In Alabama During Civil Rights Movement

Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook Isopix/Shutterstock

Apple on Thursday committed $100 million to what CEO Tim Cook called “the unfinished work of racial justice and equality.”

YouTube announced a $100 investment today as well to amplify black voices, and Sony Pictures unveiled the Sony Pictures Action initiative. They are the latest media, entertainment and tech companies shocked into action by the police killing of George Floyd two weeks ago and the ongoing wave of protest across the nation since.

Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative will work “to challenge the systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity that exist for communities of color and particularly for the black community,” focusing on education, economic equality and criminal justice reform, said Cook in video posted on Twitter.

The executive, who has a Southern twang, described growing up in Alabama during the Civil Rights movement. “I saw firsthand that the only thing that made lasting and durable change was people of good will putting aside comfort and safety to speak up, to march, to call for accountability.”

The U.S. is at an important moment in history and he wants Apple to play a role, he said. The initiative will include outreach to colleges and universities, investment in STEM programs and partnerships with social justice organizations. Apple will launch a new developer camp for Black developers “to lift up the brightest lights in the developer family,” boost spending with black-owned partners and companies it does business with and focus on diversity within Apple. “We will make changes that touch just about everything we do,” Cook said.

The initiative will be overseen by Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, who reports to Cook.

Separately on Thursday, Apple announced the lineup for a massive 31st annual global developers conference set to run June 22-26.

Now in its 31st year, WWDC20 will be the biggest to date, bringing together the global Apple developer community of more than 23 million in an unprecedented, virtual way. Apple today shared the WWDC20 lineup, including keynote and Platforms State of the Union timing, and information on how developers can learn about the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS, and engage with Apple engineers.

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