Apple CEO Tim Cook says his company must 'do more' to fight racial inequality
Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook called on his company to “do more” to fight systemic injustices and racial inequality in an open letter responding to the protests sweeping the U.S. this week.
“To create change, we have to reexamine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored,” Cook said in a letter posted on the iPhone maker’s website. “Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines. To the Black community—we see you. You matter and your lives matter.” (Scroll down to read the letter in full.)
Cook made the comments as protests against police brutality gripped the U.S. following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis after a police office kneeled on his neck.
Earlier this week, Cook had sent the letter to employees as an internal memo where he also pledged that the company would donate to a number of groups, including the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit focused on racial injustice. The iPhone maker will also offer a two-for-one match for employee donations in the month of June.
Cook said Apple would “commit to continuing our work to bring critical resources and technology to underserved school systems,” as well as “fight the forces of environmental injustice—like climate change—which disproportionately harm Black communities and other communities of color.” Protections for people are “still not universally applied” as he discussed discrimination and inequality in the U.S.
Cook's letter in full:
Right now, there is a pain deeply etched in the soul of our 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.
That painful past is still present today—not only in the form of violence, but in the everyday experience of deeply rooted discrimination. We see it in our criminal justice system, in the disproportionate toll of disease on Black and Brown communities, in the inequalities in neighborhood services and the educations our children receive.
While our laws have changed, the reality is that their protections are still not universally applied. We’ve seen progress since the America I grew up in, but it is similarly true that communities of color continue to endure discrimination and trauma.
I have heard from so many that you feel afraid—afraid in your communities, afraid in your daily lives, and, most cruelly of all, afraid in your own skin. We can have no society worth celebrating unless we can guarantee freedom from fear for every person who gives this country their love, labor, and life.
At Apple, our mission has been and always will be to create technology that empowers people to change the world for the better. We’ve always drawn strength from diversity, welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world, and strived to build an Apple that is inclusive of everyone.
But we must do more. We commit to continuing our work to bring critical resources and technology to underserved school systems. We commit to continuing to fight the forces of environmental injustice—like climate change—which disproportionately harm Black communities and other communities of color. We commit to looking inward and pushing progress forward on inclusion and diversity, so that every great idea can be heard. And we’re donating to organizations including the Equal Justice Initiative, which challenge racial injustice and mass incarceration.
To create change, we have to reexamine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored. Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines. To the Black community—we see you. You matter and your lives matter.
This is a moment when many people may want nothing more than a return to normalcy, or to a status quo that is only comfortable if we avert our gaze from injustice. As difficult as it may be to admit, that desire is itself a sign of privilege. George Floyd’s death is shocking and tragic proof that we must aim far higher than a “normal” future, and build one that lives up to the highest ideals of equality and justice.
In the words of Martin Luther King, “Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”
With every breath we take, we must commit to being that change, and to creating a better, more just world for everyone.