Apple announces fresh racial equality and justice initiatives

As much as Apple fanboys hoped to see a new, surprise Apple product launch in the very first week of 2021, the big announcement that came from Apple earlier today was more about the company’s social commitments and justice initiatives.

Apple, on January 13, 2021, announced a slew of equality and justice initiatives as a part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI). For those unaware, the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative was first announced back in June 2020 and is led by Tim Cook and Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. Apple had initially earmarked $100 million for this project. 

The initiatives, the company claims, form a larger part of its mission to ‘help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of colour.’ To that effect, the company announced the commencement of three initiatives

The Propel Center – A unique global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
An Apple Developer Academy – This is intended for coding and tech education for students in Detroit
VC funding for entrepreneurs of colour – Apple also announced its willingness to offer VC funding for Black and Brown entrepreneurs looking to build the next big startup.

Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative is taking three big steps. Supporting the Propel Center, a global innovation and learning hub for HBCUs. Our first Developer Academy in the US—in Detroit. And funding to accelerate minority-owned businesses.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook)
January 13, 2021

Apple CEO Tim Cook, announcing the initiative confirmed these moves are will go along way in building a more just, more equitable world. He went on to add how the initiative partners with people from a wide range of backgrounds and sector. Among the people set to benefit from the program include students, teachers, developers and entrepreneurs, to community organizers and justice advocates.

For the Propel Center, Apple is spending $25 million to create a 50,000 square feet space that will include labs and lecture halls. The Developer Academy in Detroit will be completed in collaboration with Michigan State University where Apple aims to train budding developers from Detroit with the help of the new academy. Additionally, the academy will also offer a 30-day introductory course for new learners before the sign up for a 10 or 12-month long intensive program. 

Apple’s fresh investments in VC and Banking aims to fund minority-owned businesses and aims to support as many as 1,000 new companies in the next 20 years.