Apple, which had to shut a majority of retail stores in the US after the protests against the killing of African-American George Floyd in police custody turned violent, has come out in support of racial equality. Leaders of other prominent technology firms such as Microsoft and Google also spoke out.
Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, in a memo to employees, said: “That painful past is still present — not only in the form of violence but in the everyday experience of deeply rooted discrimination.”
“While our laws have changed, the reality is that their protections are still not universally applied. To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognise the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism,” he said in the memo.
Many Apple employees have raised concerns about discrimination, according to the memo. “I have heard from so many of you that you feel afraid — afraid in your communities, afraid in your daily lives, and, most cruelly of all, afraid in your own skin. We’ve strived to build an Apple that is inclusive of everyone,” he said.
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, raised his voice on racism at an internal meeting. “I want to start by talking about an issue that is important to all of us and is impacting and hurting many amongst us, very directly, and very severely. The everyday racism and hatred is not new,” he said, and added: “But we can start by checking in with each other, and have empathy for what others are feeling.”
Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google, said the company has decided to share its support for racial equality in solidarity with the black community on Google and YouTube homepages in the US.
“Today on US Google & YouTube homepages we share our support for racial equality in solidarity with the black community and in memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery & others who don’t have a voice,” Pichai tweeted. “For those feeling grief, anger, sadness & fear, you are not alone,” Pichai said, sharing a screenshot of the Google search home page which said “we stand in support of racial equality, and all those who search for it.”
Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American restaurant worker, died in Minneapolis on Monday after a white police officer pinned him to the ground. Video footage showed the officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he gasped for breath, sparking widespread protests across the US. The police officer has been fired, and on Friday was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.