The US has been rocked with days of protests and rioting over the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody in Minnesota. The wave of civil unrest is clearly unprecedented and comes in the wake of a devastating pandemic that has killed over 100,000 Americans.
The protests have also gained powerful allies including politicians, and now some of the most notable names in Silicon Valley. Some senior executives top tech giants have been doing their part to tackle racial injustice and have all pledged to stand by the protests.
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai wrote an internal memo on Friday noting that the philanthropic organization Google.org will make internal contributions to grassroots organizations in the US fighting for racial justice.
The search engine giant also promised that it will match any individual contribution by its employees up to $10,000. There was also a black ribbon on Google’s homepage in support of growing efforts towards racial equality.
But Google isn’t the only organization taking part in this debate. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel also wrote an internal memo to company employees on Sunday urging the United States to start embracing profound changes around the issue of racial inequality.
Spiegel added that “every time we stay salient in the face of injustice, we are only supporting the evildoers.” While acknowledging the huge role private philanthropy can play in addressing some of these issues, the CEO also called on more far-reaching governmental reforms to end institutionalized racism in the United States.
Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also weighed in on the matter. She wrote on Twitter that the death of George Floyd was incredibly heartbreaking adding that she has been following the protests in the country closely.
She did, however, acknowledge that she didn’t know how to use her voice and philanthropy to help the situation as it is right now. Gates added that she intends to continue standing with organizations and people fighting to achieve gender and racial equity in the US.
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk also tweeted Monday morning #JusticeForGeorge, expressing his support for the ongoing protests in the country. He also expressed his concern over the fact that the other police officers who witnessed the death weren’t charged.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, on the other hand, noted that the pain of Floyd’s death is now “deeply etched in the soul” of the United States and the hearts of millions in the country.
Cook also urged his employees in a memo to stand up against racial discrimination, especially in the Criminal Justice system. Similar sentiments, calling for an end to racial discrimination were shared by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos.
The death of George Floyd has reignited a sharp debate in the US about racially motivated police brutality targeting black and Hispanics in the country. So far, the police officer involved in the death has been charged with aggravated assault and third-degree murder.