Nearly 1,000 Apple employees sign letter calling on Tim Cook to issue statement supporting Palestinians

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • Apple employees called on Tim Cook to issue a statement supporting Palestinians, The Verge reported.
  • Employees said they were frustrated Apple has kept silent amid recent violence.
  • This is the second time in a week that large numbers of Apple employees have criticized the company.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Nearly 1,000 Apple employees have signed an internal letter to CEO Tim Cook urging the company to issue a public statement in support of the Palestinian people, The Verge reported Thursday.

“We are frustrated and disappointed because once more, many of those in positions of power and influence – who boldly stand for human rights in so many other just causes – either choose to remain silent or release ineffectually neutral ‘both sides’ statements with regards to the Palestinian situation,” wrote the letter’s authors, who are members of the Apple Muslim Association, according to The Verge.

Apple taking a “both sides” approach, they wrote, “would feel to us as the equivalent of ‘all lives matter’ – a minimization of the disproportionately larger pain and suffering of the Palestinian people.”

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

The letter follows a wave of violence in Gaza, where Israeli military forces have killed at least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, and the militant group Hamas has killed around a dozen Israelis.

On Thursday, Israel and Hamas announced a ceasefire.

International human rights organizations have condemned Israel’s attacks as possible war crimes, and have denounced its treatment of Palestinians as a form of apartheid. More recently, Israel’s effort to push Palestinians out of East Jerusalem, and an Israeli police raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, have escalated tensions.

The letter to Cook is the second high-profile instance of a large number of Apple employees criticizing the company over ethical concerns in the past week alone – a rare occurrence at Apple.

Last week, The Verge reported more than 2,000 employees signed a letter slamming Apple for hiring Antonio García Martínez, citing “misogynistic” and racist past comments. Hours later, Apple said García Martínez had left the company (García Martínez claimed Apple fired him).

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JPMorgan reveals the latest part of its $30 billion commitment to support Black and brown communities

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, speaks about investing in Detroit during a panel discussion at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., April 11, 2018.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon previously said he is “committed to fighting racism.”

  • JPMorgan is investing hundreds of millions in Black and brown entrepreneurs and small business owners.
  • Brian Lamb, JPMorgan’s head of diversity and inclusion, spoke with Insider about the firm’s plan.
  • Black and brown small businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

On Thursday, JPMorgan announced a new wave of investments as part of its $30 billion commitment to lift up Black, Latinx, and other underserved communities. Latinx is a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina to describe people of Latin American descent. 

The plan, which was announced in October of last year, appears to be the largest US corporate commitment to racial equity in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, according to Insider research.

The latest round will focus on Black and brown entrepreneurs and small business owners, according to the financial giant.

“We look at diversity and inclusion as a business,” Brian Lamb, JPMorgan’s global head of diversity and inclusion, told Insider. “We want to drive sustainable change.” 

The firm said it would commit $300 million to support underserved small businesses and an additional $42.5 million to its “Entrepreneurs of Color Fund,” a program that supports Black and brown founders. 

Brian Lamb JPMorgan
Brian Lamb, JPMorgan’s global head of diversity and inclusion, is helping oversee the firm’s implementation of the $30 billion commitment.

The pandemic has devastated small businesses, especially those owned by people of color. 

Black-owned businesses were more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to have closed during the pandemic, according to an August 2020 national study by the New York Fed. Some 41% of Black-owned businesses closed, and 32% of Latinx-owned businesses closed. Meanwhile, white-owned businesses fell by just 17%. 

In addition, JPMorgan will be opening new branches, called “Chase Lounges,” in underserved areas including Harlem, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. These branches will have resources for entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their companies. 

The news follows JPMorgan’s announcement from earlier this week that it would invest $40 million in minority depository institutions (MDIs) and community development financial institutions (CDFIs). MDIs and CDFIs provide financial services in communities that are often underserved. 

In October, the firm said it would commit $8 billion to help 40,000 Black and Latinx households access mortgages. The firm said it will help an additional 20,000 achieve lower mortgage payments by providing up to $4 billion in refinancing loans over the next five years. 

The mortgage industry is riddled with racism. Lenders deny mortgages for Black applicants at a rate 80% higher than that of white applicants, per 2020 data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

The firm is also tackling affordable housing. 

Over the next five years, JPMorgan said it will finance 100,000 affordable rental units by providing $14 billion in new loans and equity investments, among other efforts. 

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Black, Hispanic, and Native American households are more likely than white households to be low-income renters, meaning there is a severe lack of affordable homes available to them. 

“We’re going to track and report on our progress towards these commitments and ultimately hold our most senior level leaders accountable to the progress,” Lamb said. 

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Every leader needs to build their emotional intelligence right now. Here’s how to do it, according to diversity and inclusion consultants.

video conference work from home woman working meeting
Diversity and inclusion experts say the pressure to enact change means more leaders will be judged on their emotional intelligence.

  • Employees and customers are demanding action when it comes to racial equity in the workplace.
  • As a result, more leaders will be judged on a key trait: emotional intelligence.
  • Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to understand how people feel and react to make decisions.
  • This article is part of a series called “IQ to EQ,” which explores the management styles of inspiring business leaders. Check here for similar stories.

Emotional intelligence is a crucial leadership skill that is going to become more important for executives across the board.

That’s according to diversity and inclusion consultants who said leaders can’t achieve the important work around racial equity without it. 

Emotional intelligence is defined as “the ability to understand the way people feel and react and to use this skill to make good judgments and to avoid or solve problems,” per the Cambridge Dictionary.  

“It’s a crucial leadership skill to have, one I think more people are going to be talking about in the future,” Arquella Hargrove, DEI consultant and leadership coach, told Insider. 

Here’s why. Calls for racial equity and diversity, equity, and inclusion have never been louder. Workers and customers are demanding corporate leaders take action. In order to achieve those goals, experts tell us that leaders have to listen to their colleagues from underrepresented backgrounds. They have to engage in tough conversations on race and privilege. And they have to enact changes and work with others to solve problems. 

“Diversity and inclusion – we are dealing with people. We want to humanize it. There’s emotion there,” Hargrove said. 

Arquella Hargrove
Company leaders need to demonstrate their ability to listen to others and take action, Arquella Hargrove, diversity, equity, inclusion and HR strategist, told Insider.

The killing of George Floyd and other unarmed Black Americans, and the resulting resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, turned DEI from tired buzzwords into business objectives. It became personal, Hargrove said. 

Doris Quintanilla, executive director and cofounder of The Melanin Collective, a DEI consultancy, agrees. 

“If we’re trying to center around humanity and accept people for who they are, you have to have a skillset of understanding and of empathy,” she said. 

What emotional intelligence looks like and how to build it 

There are multiple parts to emotional intelligence leaders (and managers in general) can work to improve. They fall under a few broad categories, explain Daniel Goleman, famed author of “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” and Richard E. Boyatzis, psychology professor at Case Western Reserve University. 

One is social awareness: or the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It’s having empathy, they write in Harvard Business Review

To boost your empathy, Hargrove and Quintanilla recommend leaders spend more time learning about their employees from underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds. Invite them to share their experiences, and listen to them. In addition, educate yourself by reading books on anti-racism. 

Doris Quintanilla
Doris Quintanilla, executive director and cofounder of The Melanin Collective, said DEI goals can’t be achieved if a company’s leader is not empathetic and able to listen to others.

“The beauty of this is when leaders listen to their colleagues from different backgrounds, they start to value those differences. They make people feel included on the team,” Hargrove said. 

Another part of emotional intelligence is how well you manage relationships, or your ability to communicate effectively and work with others. 

“One part of emotional intelligence is asking for feedback and being able to accept that feedback. That makes managers and leaders better,” she said. 

Quintanilla recommends leaders invest in their relationships with Black and brown employees. Give them a seat at the decision making table, and incorporate their advice into your plans. 

“Everyone had a statement after the murder of George Floyd, those things don’t matter anymore. The words that you say – if they’re not in alignment with the actual actions you’re taking, the people you’re hiring, the people you’re promoting – we don’t want to hear it,” Quintanilla said. 

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There’s a key different between ‘equity’ and ‘equality’ – and you need to understand it to help dismantle systemic racism in America

joe biden executive orders
President Joe Biden prepares to sign a series of executive orders at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, including multiple on racial equity.

  • Many corporate and government leaders, including President Biden, are talking about racial equity right now.
  • Equity is different from equality. 
  • Equality treats everyone the same regardless of need, while equity achieves fairness by treating people differently dependent on need. 
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Over the past few months, you’ve probably heard the term “racial equity” either in conversation with friends, in a company memo, or in the news. 

JP Morgan, Walmart, Mastercard, and CitiGroup are just a few examples of dozens of companies that have specifically dedicated millions of dollars (or more) to advance racial equity in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. 

In our nation’s capital, President Joe Biden recently signed a number of executive orders to advance racial equity: enacting policies that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion training, ending the Department of Justice’s use of private prisons, and directing the federal government to redress historical racism in federal housing policies, among other measures. 

But what does “equity” really mean? And how is different from “equality”? Well, there’s actually a key difference and it’s important to know.

Read more: An anti-racist’s dictionary: 19 words on race, gender, and diversity you should know

Equality vs. equity

Social Change UK, a social research and campaign company, explained the difference succinctly in a blog post. 

“Although both promote fairness, equality achieves this through treating everyone the same regardless of need, while equity achieves this through treating people differently dependent on need,” their website reads. “This different treatment may be the key to reaching equality.” 

Still, that might be hard to grasp. 

Rosalind Chow, associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, shared a helpful metaphor of two people competing in a track race. 

Both runners are at their starting points, but one is more than half a lap behind the other.  

Equality, she explained, would mean giving both runners the same starting time, treating them equally. But that would not be fair, since one runner is significantly ahead of the other. The playing field, to mix metaphors, is not level. 

“Equity, in this context, would require giving a bit more of a head start to the runner starting from behind to make up for their deficit, so that they can compete on equal footing as the runner who had been ahead,” Chow told Insider. 

Of course, achieving racial equity is not as simple as giving marginalized and oppressed communities more resources. 

In a blog post on Medium, Richard Leong, DEI consultant and leadership coach, wrote that there’s more work to be done. 

“Driving equity and justice isn’t about tinkering with systems that just ended up being imbalanced, it’s about dismantling oppressive systems that are working exactly as they were designed,” he wrote.

For example, Biden’s executive order on federal housing directs leaders to not only advance the inclusion of Black and brown people in federal housing policies, but work to fix decades of racist policies in housing

The order recognizes the historic, systemic problem. Federal, state, and local governments implemented discriminatory policies that contributed to segregated neighborhoods and prevented many Black, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native American families from building wealth. It then calls for action to end discrimination, work with those who have experienced housing discrimination, and promote diverse and inclusive communities. 

“Systemic racism that has plagued our nation for far, far too long,” Biden said, while signing his executive orders advancing racial equity.

“We’re going to continue to make progress to eliminate systemic racism, and every branch of the White House and the federal government is going to be part of that effort,” he added. 

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