Last week, Apple announced several new projects to combat systemic racism and advance racial equity in the US.
The events of recent years have forced many United States citizens to reckon with the disturbing truth that they are still far from living in a post-racial world—an idealistic yet naive notion that arose amid the promise and optimism that accompanied Barack Obama’s historic win.
Today, when racism is more prevalent than ever, it’s clear that people want change, and not just in the form of shareable memes on Instagram.
Apple’s new projects are a part of the $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) pledge that the company made last year to “help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color,” according to the press release.
The new efforts include a “global innovation and education hub” for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) called the Propel Center, an Apple Developer Academy for coding and technology, as well as venture capital funding for BIPOC entrepreneurs.
The Propel Center will be based in Atlanta, in the historic Atlanta University Center district, and the artist’s rendering of it looks impressive. A country-wide virtual program will be set up to work with HBCUs across the country in addition to the physical campus.
The center’s educational programming sounds wide-ranging and robust. The campus will offer everything from AI and machine learning to agriculture, app development, and even entertainment arts. It’s like the iPhone of colleges: looks gorgeous, and you can do anything with it.
The Developer Academy will open later this year in Detroit, a city with over 50,000 black-owned businesses, with the intent to “empower young Black entrepreneurs, creators, and coders, helping them cultivate the skills necessary for jobs in the rapidly growing iOS app economy,” according to the press release.
Of the new projects, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:
“We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment.
We’re launching REJI’s latest initiatives with partners across a broad range of industries and backgrounds — from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community organizers to justice advocates — working together to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long.”
Apple’s commitment to changing the fabric of the country is admirable. Hopefully, its efforts will lead to a material change in the racist systems and networks that dictate and control so much in the United States. Check this out to read about another major company pledging money to the cause.