Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a note to employees on Sunday about the murder of George Floyd.
Protests broke out in cities across the country after the murder of Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of the Minneapolis police. On Friday, Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who was filmed on his knees on Floyd’s neck before his death, was arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter.
Widespread anger over Floyd’s murder has sparked protests, clashes with police, and looting in several cities.
In the memo, Cook condemned the murder and called for the creation of a “better and fairer world for all”.
“We can only have a society worth celebrating if we cannot guarantee the fearlessness of everyone who gives their love, work and life to this country,” said Cook.
Cook also acknowledged that there is racial injustice in the United States, including in “our criminal justice system” and “in the disproportionate number of diseases in the black and brown communities”, as well as economic inequalities and disparities in educational opportunities.
The note comes after Apple closed some of its stores in the United States after protests turned violent over the weekend.
Here is the full memo:
Right now, there is a deep-seated pain in the soul of our nation and in the hearts of millions of people. To stay united, we must defend each other and recognize the fear, the hurt and the outrage rightly caused by the senseless murder of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism.
This painful past is still present today – not only in the form of violence, but in the daily experience of deep-rooted discrimination. We see it in our criminal justice system, in the disproportionate number of illnesses in black and brown communities, in the inequalities in neighborhood services and in the education our children receive. Although our laws have changed, the reality is that their protections are still not universally applied.
We have seen progress from America where I grew up, but it is also true that communities of color continue to experience discrimination and trauma.
I have heard so many of you that you are afraid – fear in your communities, fear in your daily life and, more cruelly still, fear in your skin. We can only have a society worth celebrating if we can guarantee that everyone who gives this country his love, work and life is free from fear.
At Apple, our mission has been and always will be to create technology that enables people to change the world for the better. We have always drawn strength from our diversity, welcomed people from all walks of life to our stores around the world, and have strived to build an Apple that is inclusive for all.
But together, we must do more. Today, Apple is donating to a number of groups, including Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization committed to fighting racial injustice, ending mass incarceration and protecting the human rights of most vulnerable people in American society. For the month of June, and in honor of the public holiday of June 19, we will also match two by one all employee donations via Benevity.
To create change, we need to re-examine our own views and actions in the light of deeply felt but too often overlooked pain. Human dignity issues will not be left aside. To our colleagues in the black community – we see you. You matter, your life matters and you are appreciated here at Apple.
For all of our colleagues who are suffering right now, know that you are not alone and that we have resources to support you. It is more important than ever to speak to each other and find healing in our common humanity. We also have free resources that can help you, including our employee assistance program and mental health resources that you can find on the People site.
It is a time when many people may want nothing more than a return to normality, or to a status quo that is only comfortable if we look away from injustice. As difficult as it may be to admit, this desire is itself a sign of privilege. The death of George Floyd is shocking and tragic proof that we must aim much 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 the status quo and its fraternities of indifferent people who are known to have gone through revolutions. Today, our survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adapt to new ideas, stay alert and take on the challenge of change. “
With each breath, we must commit to be that change and create a better and more just world for all.
– Josh Lipton of CNBC contributed to this report.