Tim Cook unveils Apple's $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative

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Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday announced a new $100 million endeavor to support racial equity and justice across the U.S. and the world.

Apple's Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, was announced in a tweet by Tim Cook on Thursday, shortly after the WWDC schedule. The initiative will be led by Lisa Jackson, the Cupertino tech giant's vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.

"Beginning in the United States, and expanding globally over time, the initiative will challenge the systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity that exist for communities of color, and particularly of the black community," Cook said.

Cook added that the program will place a particular emphasis on "education, economic equality and criminal justice reform."

The Apple chief executive said that the endeavor will build on the company's existing work with historically black colleges and universities, community colleges, STEM education and underserved students and teachers, but will also expand to forge "new partnerships" with organizations such as the Equal Justice Initiative.

Ahead of WWDC 2020, Apple will also launch a new developer entrepreneurial bootcamp for black developers "with a goal of fostering and lifting up the brightest lights and best ideas in the developer family."

Apple also said it is going to increase its spending with black-owned supply chain partners and push for increased representation across the companies it does business with. The Cupertino tech giant will also take "significant new steps" toward inclusion and diversity within its own ranks, including placing additional focus on hiring, developing and supporting those from underrepresented groups.

Jackson, who will head the new initiative, also tweeted about the endeavor Thursday.

Of the Apple VP, Cook said that she "has revolutionized our environmental work by looking across the company, bringing existing teams and projects together under one umbrella, dramatically expanding those efforts and compounding and magnifying their results. We want to bring that same holistic focus and companywide scale to racial justice and breaking down barriers to opportunity across our society."

"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 wrote in a tweet.

Cook covered much more in his video Tweet.

Hello everyone, the unfinished work of racial justice and equality call us all to account now and always.

Growing up in Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement, I saw firsthand that the only thing that ever made lasting and durable change was people of goodwill, putting aside comfort and safety, to speak up, to march, to call for accountability and to do what they could to make a flawed society more perfect.

So it is today. We're at an important moment in our history, a time when progress which has been far too slow, feel suddenly poised to move forward in a great leap. Each of us has a role to play in making sure we rise to the occasion. Things must change, and Apple's committed to being a force for that change.

Today, I'm proud to announce Apple's Racial Equity and Justice Initiative with a $100 million commitment. Beginning in the United States and expanding globally over time, the initiative will challenge the systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity that exists for communities of color, and particularly for the black community with special focus on issues of education, economic equality, and criminal justice reform.

Led by Lisa Jackson, this effort will build on our existing work in the racial justice space and significantly broaden its scope and impact using a model that has a proven track record. In recent years, Lisa has revolutionized our environmental work by looking across the company bringing existing teams and projects together under one umbrella, dramatically expanding those efforts and compounding and magnifying the results.

We want to bring that same holistic focus and company-wide scale to the essential work of racial justice and breaking down barriers to opportunity across our society. The effort will build on our long-standing work with historically black colleges and universities, community colleges, STEM education and underserved students and teachers, and forge new partnerships with organizations like the Equal Justice Initiative. It will bring together skills and knowledge from across the company and make changes that touch just about everything we do, all in service of achieving something transformative for our communities.

Ahead of our Worldwide Developers Conference later this month, we're announcing a new developer entrepreneurial camp for black developers, with the goal of fostering and lifting up the brightest lights and best ideas in the developer family. In our supply chain and professional service partners, we're committed to increasing our total spending with black-owned partners, and increasing representation across companies we do business with.

Last, but certainly not least, we're taking significant new steps on diversity and inclusion within Apple. Because there is more we can and must do to hire, develop and support those from underrepresented groups, especially our black and brown colleagues. This is a comprehensive effort governed by three principles: representation, inclusion and accountability.

I think accountability deserves special attention. Whether it is at Apple or anywhere in society, the burden of change must not fall on those who are underrepresented. It falls heaviest on those in positions of power, leadership and influence, to change structures for the greater good.

Our commitment is to meet this challenge, listening, learning and acting collaboratively.

Apple has never shied away from tough conversations about tough topics. In fact, they're the only way we've made progress. And that is still true today. We will do our part. And I want to send our gratitude to everyone who is pushing needed changes forward in their communities.

Thank you.

 

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