Apple has updated its home page with a statement from Tim Cook, addressing the tragic death of George Floyd and asserting the company’s commitment to “creating a better, more just world for everyone.”
“Right now, there is a pain deeply etched in the soul of our nation and in the hearts of millions,” the Apple CEO writes. “To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognize the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism.”
Cook’s address comes after numerous appeals, urging Apple to publicly state its position on the matter.
Apple already showed its support for protesters with its participation in Black Out Tuesday, alongside with other technology giants like Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon.
The move shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone closely following Apple‘s post-Steve Jobs transformation. Since taking the helm in 2011, Cook has been gradually turning Apple into a political force.
Apple‘s first major battle against the government came in 2016 during the notorious San Bernardino encryption dispute, when the company opposed orders from the Department of Justice to unlock the shooter’s iPhone.
“The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers,” Cook commented at the time. “We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”
“For many years, we have used encryption to protect our customers’ personal data because we believe it’s the only way to keep their information safe,” he continued. “We have even put that data out of our own reach, because we believe the contents of your iPhone are none of our business.
At one point Cook also considered taking the Trump administration to court over the immigration ban, which forbid Syrian refugees and citizens of seven other Muslim countries from entering the US.
Here’s Cook’s full statement on the recent protests:
Right now, there is a pain deeply etched in the soul of our nation and in the hearts of millions. To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognize the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism.
That painful past is still present today — not only in the form of violence, but in the everyday experience of deeply rooted discrimination. 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. We’ve seen progress since the America I grew up in, but it is similarly true that communities of color continue to endure discrimination and trauma.
I have heard from so many 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.
At Apple, our mission has been and always will be to create technology that empowers people to change the world for the better. We’ve always drawn strength from diversity, welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world, and strived to build an Apple that is inclusive of everyone.
But we must do more. We commit to continuing our work to bring critical resources and technology to underserved school systems. We commit to continuing to fight the forces of environmental injustice — like climate change — which disproportionately harm Black communities and other communities of color. We commit to looking inward and pushing progress forward on inclusion and diversity, so that every great idea can be heard. And we’re donating to organizations including the Equal Justice Initiative, which challenge racial injustice and mass incarceration.
To create change, we have to reexamine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored. Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines. To the Black community — we see you. You matter and your lives matter.
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 we must aim far 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 status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”
With every breath we take, we must commit to being that change, and to creating a better, more just world for everyone.