As a valiant effort to stand up against inequality to folks of color, Apple started the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) earlier in the year. This policy aimed to empower the black community and undo the barriers standing against justice and racial equality.
One major aspect of this initiative is in the sector of education, where Apple believes greater access leads to greater opportunity for black folks in the workforce, and that is why Apple is collaborating with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to launch an Apple Propel Center where science-related programs and career opportunities will be discussed for black youths.
Economic equity and social justice is another major aspect Apple will touch on, to the point where people of color would feel empowered to dismantle every thread to their equity and reform. As the Nation’s most valued tech empire, Apple hopes to make a major difference to Latinos and Blacks, and this action is a step in the right direction.
What To Expect From REJI
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, on June 11, this $100 million initiative was started to inspire changes in every area of the lacking system. They aim to broaden the availability of opportunities to folks of color, equipping them with the right tools and opportunities to thrive exceedingly well in the future and pass this tangible development on to the next generation.
It is important for kids of colour to know they matter in society. The issue of race has always been a problem, but after the civil rights movement it seemed to have been abolished. However, instead of the complete eradication of this abhorrent act, it cloaked under so many forms, one of which is police brutality on people of color.
It’s logical to mention the Black Lives Matter movement here. It started after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in July 2013, after killing Trayvon Martin. It expanded in 2020 after the unfair murder of Floyd while in Police custody. Since then, the movement has grown beyond mere hashtags with the creation of different shows, Black Lives Matter essays, and mass marches that talk about the essence of this special movement, and how essential it is to the development of the colored community.
With this said, REJI also represents the company’s endeavor to internally bolster cultural diversity and inclusion at every position. They understand how segregated the community of color has felt for ages and are making ample changes for these differences to be completely dismantled and nullified.
To bolster education, Apple split the $100 million donations into assigned parts, and $25 million was set aside for collaboration with Southern Company for the launch of the center, a sterling innovation for the HBCU community.
The center is a state-of-the-art learning hub supplied with enough resources to raise diverse leaders for this generation and the next. This $25 million contribution would facilitate the establishment of sturdy virtual platforms and physical construction in the historic Atlanta University Center and active programs at partner institutions.
This center would also provide innovative technologies, educational tracks, entertainment, the Internet of Things, and even improved Artificial Intelligence. The organization would also provide mentorship and offer internship opportunities to university students. As part of their ongoing partnerships with HBCUs, they established two new grants to support HBCU engineering and developer programs. This would help improve the quality of their learning environment and equip their laboratories.
Based on its existing commitment to the scholarship program by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the organization is also handing out over 100 new scholarships to prospects from any underrepresented country or state university.
An unfair system is unfit for all, and Apple’s program also branches out to deeply address these issues of inequality. The civil rights of everyone should be defended, and the company works tirelessly to sponsor organizations that defend these rights regardless of skin color or race.
Following the unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, many organizations announced large donations as a form of support to the cause. However, Apple set up an initiative headed by Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. This would act as a task force, taking on the problem of police brutality around the world, and driving it down to a minimum.
Also, as part of their efforts, Apple will invest $10 million with Harlem Capital, a VC firm, to help financially sustain 1,000 businesses for the next twenty years of work. As a trusted firm, Harlem would act as an entrepreneur camp and offer mentorship to these startups, helping them make stable financial decisions that are sustainable for business.
There will also be the launch of the Developer Academy in Detroit, where support would be offered to coding students and venture capital funding. According to census data, Detroit has one of the most populated black and brown business communities, boasting over 50,000 trades. This Academy could not have been established in a more befitting place, at a time where it is needed the most. It would help all these startups thrive and grow in ways they have never been allowed to. Regardless of the million racial or academic backgrounds, mentorship and business courses would be given as a form of empowerment.
The Siebert Williams Shank’s Clear Vision Impact Fund is another benefactor of $25 million, which should promote small to medium-sized businesses of diverse founders.
No matter how popular or dominating an industry is, they can not tackle these societal problems independently. The change has to start with awareness, and everyone should play a part in spreading the news.
As parents, if you need ways to teach your kids about these pressing issues in society, Apple has partnered with The King Center and The Dolores Huerta Foundation and now has an app to bring you a set of guides and conversation starters with which you can employ to properly educate children or youths.
An injustice to one is an injustice to all. Racial segregation has been a predominant issue for so long; it is liberating to finally see upscale companies standing up and speaking openly about this today. We should learn to always stand up for ourselves and be the strongest version we can be.