This Monday, CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, penned a letter to his entire Apple Team addressing “the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism.” Cook’s letter comes at a pivotal moment for the U.S. amidst nationwide protests in all major cities following the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.
Cook writes to his team, “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 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.” Racial inequities are more visible with each passing day as protests gain support and police brutality continues to escalate. As one of the largest and most profitable companies in the U.S., Tim Cook and Apple have a responsibility to their employees, consumers, and society as a whole to take a stand on these issues and show where they stand.
Cook made clear Apple’s support for racial equality and justice through “donations to a number of groups, including the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit committed to challenging racial injustice, ending mass incarceration, and protecting the human rights of the most vulnerable people in American society.” In addition, Cook informed team members that, “For the month of June, and in honor of the Juneteenth holiday, we’ll also be matching two-for-one all employee donations via Benevity.”
How To Move Forward Together
Although economic and moral support are vital during this nationwide crisis, they are not enough. Cook wants his employees and society as a whole to understand that systemic change is warranted and necessary, writing, “ 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 must aim far higher than a “normal” future and build one that lives up to the highest ideals of equality and justice.”
This letter comes at a time when notable leaders of social media giants, Facebook and Twitter, are engaged in a public debate over their role in holding truth-telling as their highest priority. Last week Twitter began adding clarifications to President Trump’s tweets that either contained misinformation or inflammatory language. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, faced significant backlash including from his counterpart at Facebook. CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg says, “I believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.” Zuckerberg went on to say, “What I believe is that in a democracy, it’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own judgments.