Apple launches new projects to challenge systemic racism
Apple on Wednesday announced a set of new projects as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) "to combat injustices faced by communities of colour.”
The initiative was introduced last June as protests against racial inequality erupted around the world after the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and other black people.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, expressed the company’s vision to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for too long. “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,” he said in a statement.
The latest announcement includes three key developments.
The iPhone-maker said it will contribute $25 million to Propel Centre, an innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to support students and faculty members through virtual and physical presence.
Experts from Apple will help develop curricula for courses in AI and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creative arts, career preparation, and entrepreneurship.
The first-ever Apple Developer Academy will be opened in Downtown Detroit to support coding and tech education to empower its community of Black entrepreneurs and developers. All learners, irrespective of academic background and experience, will gain access to it. This is aimed at equipping them with skills necessary to participate in the iOS app economy.
The company will also invest $10 million with early-stage VC firm Harlem Capital to support investments in 1,000 companies with diverse founders over the next two decades. Additionally, the VC firm will offer guidance and mentorship to students of Apple Developer Academy and its Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers.
To support minority-owned small and medium businesses, Apple will invest $25 million in Siebert Williams Shank’s Clear Vision Impact Fund.