Sundar Pichai: Google working on ‘initiatives and product ideas’ that support the Black community

On Sunday, the Google and YouTube homepages featured messages in “support for racial equality in solidarity with the Black community.” CEO Sundar Pichai today addressed employees about ongoing and future efforts to help.

I realize that nothing about this week feels like business as usual — and it shouldn’t. Our Black community is hurting, and many of us are searching for ways to stand up for what we believe, and reach out to people we love to show solidarity.

To that end, Pichai met with the company’s Black leaders yesterday to “talk about where we go from here and how we can contribute as Google.” A “few initial commitments to meet the urgency of the moment” include $12 million to fund organizations focused on combating racial inequalities:

Our first grants of $1 million each will go to our long-term partners at the Center for Policing Equity and the Equal Justice Initiative. And we’ll be providing technical support through our Fellows program. This builds on the $32 million we have donated to racial justice over the past five years. We’ll also offer $25 million in Ad Grants to help organizations fighting racial injustice provide critical information.

Meanwhile, Googlers since last week have “contributed an additional $2.5 million in donations that we’re matching.” The original amount is not clear, but Pichai says this is the biggest employee donation campaign in the company’s history, both in terms of amount raised and participation.

That said, the CEO acknowledges how money and “supporting worthy organizations” is “not a replacement for doing the harder work ahead both within and outside of Google.” One aim is to “use [its] products and technology to improve access and opportunity” over the coming weeks and months.

The events of the past few weeks reflect deep structural challenges. We’ll work closely with our Black community to develop initiatives and product ideas that support long-term solutions — and we’ll keep you updated. As part of this effort, we welcome your ideas on how to use our products and technology to improve access and opportunity.

Lastly, today at 1 p.m. PT, Google is hosting an internal livestream where employees will be “standing together to honor the memories of Black lives lost in an 8 minute and 46 second moment of silence.” It’s meant to “provide space for us to come together as a community.”

The length of the moment of silence represents the amount of time George Floyd suffered before he was killed. It’s meant to serve as a visceral reminder of the injustice inflicted on Mr. Floyd and so many others. We acknowledge that racism and violence may look different in different parts of the world, so please use this as a moment to reflect on those who have been lost in your own country or community at a time that works for you.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: