Apple CEO Tim Cook last Thursday posted a strongly worded letter condemning the “senseless killing” of George Floyd and saying that American society should not seek a “return to normalcy” if it means continuing racial injustice.
Cook’s open letter comes after more than a week of both peaceful protests over the death of Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody, as well as violent clashes with law enforcement in numerous cities.
The letter, titled “Speaking up on racism” and posted on Apple’s website, said that Floyd’s death has “rightly provoked” the “outrage” being expressed by protesters around the U.S.
“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,” Cook wrote. “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.”
Cook had previously, on May 28, tweeted that “Minneapolis is grieving for a reason” and that “justice is how we heal.” But his new letter goes much further, suggesting he sees the validity of the protests around the U.S. at a time when some officials including President Donald Trump were calling for forcing an end to them.
In order for Americans to “stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognise the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism,” Cook wrote.
“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 neighbourhood services and the educations our children receive,” he wrote. “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 colour continue to endure discrimination and trauma.”
Ultimately, to change American society, “we have to re-examine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored,” Cook wrote. “Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines. To the Black community — we see you. You matter and your lives matter.”