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How Silicon Valley leaders, from Elon Musk to Tim Cook, are responding to the George Floyd protests

How Silicon Valley leaders, from Elon Musk to Tim Cook, are responding to the George Floyd protests
Tech CEOs from Apple, Google, Tesla react to George Floyd protests - Business Insider

Silicon Valley leaders are voicing their solidarity for protests that have erupted across the nation in response to the death of George Floyd.

Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jeff Bezos.Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jeff Bezos.
From left: Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jeff Bezos.
Getty
  • Silicon Valley leaders are voicing their solidarity for protests that have erupted across the nation in response to the death of George Floyd. 
  • Executives from Google, Snap, Apple, Facebook, and more are speaking out against racial inequality and police brutality in social media posts and memos to employees. 
  • "Every minute we are silent in the face of evil and wrongdoing we are acting in support of evildoers," Snap CEO Evan Spiegel wrote in a memo to employees obtained by The Information. He called for tax reform and the creation of a non-partisan committee on reparations.
  • In a memo obtained by Bloomberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed to the history of racism in the US, which he described as "a painful past" that is "still present today."
  • The CEOs of Google, Apple, Snap, and Facebook all pledged to donate to organizations that support racial justice and equality.
  • The US is entering its seventh day of unrest over the killing of Floyd, who died while being subdued by police in Minneapolis.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Friday wrote in an internal memo that Google.org, the company's philanthropy arm, had set up an internal giving campaign to organizations fighting for racial justice.

Sundar Pichai
Sundar Pichai.
Stephen Lam/Reuters

Google will match any employee contribution up to $10,000, Pichai said in the memo, which was obtained by Business Insider.

Google also added a black ribbon to its homepage to show support for racial equality. "For those feeling grief, anger, sadness & fear, you are not alone," Pichai wrote on Twitter. 

 

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel wrote a lengthy memo to employees on Sunday night calling for the US to "embrace profound change."

Evan Spiegel
Evan Spiegel.
Getty

"Every minute we are silent in the face of evil and wrongdoing we are acting in support of evildoers," Spiegel wrote in the memo, which was obtained by The Information. "I am heartbroken and enraged by the treatment of black people and people of color in America."

Spiegel called for change at the governmental level, urging for the creation of a non-partisan commission on reparations and revamping the tax code to tax the wealthy at a higher rate. While Snap will donate financially to organizations that support racial equality, Spiegel said, philanthropy won't "make more than a dent" in the issue. 

"Private philanthropy can patch holes, or accelerate progress, but it alone cannot cross the deep and wide chasm of injustice," Spiegel wrote. "We must cross that chasm together as a united nation. United in the striving for freedom, equality, and justice for all." 

Spiegel also touched on content moderation on Snapchat, saying that while Snap will not promote accounts linked to people who incite racial violence, it won't go as far as removing content people disagree with. 

Melinda Gates said that the video of Floyd's death "broke my heart."

Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates.
REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Gates wrote on Twitter on Sunday that she's been following the protests over the last several days and has felt "overwhelmed with solidarity," but that she doesn't yet know the best way to use her voice and philanthropy to help. 

"I will continue to deepen my understanding and to stand with people and organizations working toward a future centered on gender and racial equity," Gates wrote. 

 

Mark Zuckerberg on Sunday posted that Facebook must do more to support equality and safety for the black community on its platforms.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg.
Charles Platiau/Reuters

In a post on Facebook, Zuckerberg praised Darnella Frazier, who posted the video of Floyd's death, saying that as hard as it was to watch, "we all needed to see that."

Zuckerberg said Facebook would donate $10 million to racial justice groups recommended by employees and the company's "civil rights advisors." He also detailed the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's work in criminal justice reform, which he said has invested somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million over the last several years. 

"The pain of the last week reminds us how far our country has to go to give every person the freedom to live with dignity and peace. It reminds us yet again that the violence Black people in America live with today is part of a long history of racism and injustice," Zuckerberg wrote. "We stand with the Black community — and all those working towards justice in honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and far too many others whose names will not be forgotten."

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted "#JusticeForGeorge" on Monday morning.

elon musk
Elon Musk.
Patrick Fallon / Reuters

Musk responded to a video on Twitter, saying that it's "definitely not right" that the other police officers present when Floyd died weren't charged.

 

Apple CEO Tim Cook said that pain is "deeply etched in the soul of our nation and in the hearts of millions" right now.

tim cook
Tim Cook.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

In a memo to employees, Cook wrote that we must stand up for one another in the aftermath of Floyd's death and in light of "a much longer history of racism," Bloomberg reported.

"That painful past is still present today — not only in the form of violence, but in the everyday experience of deeply rooted discrimination," Cook wrote. "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."

Cook said Apple would make donations to the Equal Justice Initiative, along with several other groups, and would be matching all employee donations two-for-one in the month of June. 

"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," Cook wrote.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, echoed Zuckerberg on Facebook, saying, "there is so much work in front of us to get to true equality."

sheryl sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg.
Allison Shelley/Getty Images

"We stand against racism. We stand against bigotry. We stand for justice," Sandberg wrote. 

 

While Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hasn't made a statement about the protests specifically, he posted on Instagram on Friday about the effects of the protests on workers, specifically people of color.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos.
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Bezos posted an essay by writer Shenequa Golding about attempting to maintain professionalism after witnessing black men and women being killed. Bezos recommended reading Golding's thoughts, especially if you're a manager or leader.

"The pain and emotional trauma caused by the racism and violence we are witnessing toward the black community has a long reach," Bezos wrote.

 

Anthony Noto, the CEO of SoFi, called the treatment of Floyd "beyond reprehensible."

Anthony Noto SoFi
Anthony Noto.
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Noto said on Twitter Monday not to be satisfied with the officers involved being arrested — instead, he called for the resignation of Minnesota's governor and other elected officials to change the "rotten culture that exists under their leadership." 

 

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted demanding "police policy reform now."

Jack Dorsey
Jack Dorsey.
Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

Dorsey retweeted a statement from Square calling for "real, meaningful work" to address racial inequality. 

"There is much to do to right society's long history of wrongs against Black communities. We can put out statements all day, but we know that words alone can feel quaint. Real, meaningful work is necessary to create change," Square posted. 

 

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston tweeted that his company stands "with the Black community and for civil rights everywhere."

Drew Houston
Drew Houston.
Drew Angerer / Getty

"The pain and anger we're experiencing as a nation can't be healed until we create a racially just society," Houston wrote.

 

Stripe CEO Patrick Collison said he and his brother, Stripe cofounder John Collison, were investigating research-based ways to reduce police violence.

Patrick Collison stripe ceo
Reuters/Albert Gea

Collison said he and his brother were looking for organizations focused on "restricting qualified immunity" and "reforming accountability mechanisms." 

"John and I would like to support their work," Collison wrote. 

 

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