Tech Company Leaders Speak on Racial Justice


Silicon Valley leaders — who rarely speak out on racially charged issues — are breaking their silence. The question is: Will they do more than talk? 

In a series of posts on social media that followed the shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling — black men killed in separate police encounters in the course of one day — some of the nation’s most influential technology companies lined up in support of racial justice with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

• “We stand in solidarity with the fight for racial justice,” Google tweeted.

• “These tragedies must lead to action. We join the voices demanding racial justice now,” tweeted Twitter.

• Dropbox CEO Drew Houston tweeted, “What a terrible time for this country. #BlackLivesMatter” Through a spokeswoman, Houston said he tweeted because he and Dropbox care about these issues deeply.

• Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted, “Senseless killings this week remind us that justice is still out of reach for many.”

• “We join the millions mourning in Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights and Dallas and we stand with those committed to change around the world,” tweeted Microsoft.

• “The images we’ve seen this week are graphic and heartbreaking, and they shine a light on the fear that millions of members of our community live with every day,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.

But while tech leaders have been strong with their words, actions have been absent.

Save for Google, which has contributed more than $5 million in grants to racial justice organizations the past year, most tech companies have taken few tangible steps to address the issue. That’s in contrast to how they’ve used their clout as sought-after employers and cash-rich companies to influence other issues, from bills that impact LGBTQ people to immigration reform.

And it’s been noticed.

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Source: USA Today | Jon Swartz