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Apple CEO Tim Cook. Screenshot: via Twitter

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday announced a $100 million project focused on the systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity faced by the black community, with special emphasis on education, economic equality and criminal justice reform.

Why it matters: While many tech companies have talked about the need for more work in the area, Apple's large check appears to be a more substantial move.

Details:

  • The effort will begin in the U.S., then expand internationally over time.
  • It will be led by Lisa Jackson, the former EPA administrator who has led Apple's environmental efforts for the last several years.
  • Apple is also addressing internal issues, promising to boost its hiring of underrepresented minorities and increase its spending with black-owned suppliers.

Cook made the announcement in an impassioned video posted to Twitter, reflecting on his childhood, growing up in Alabama during the civil rights movement.

"The only thing that ever made lasting and durable change was people of goodwill putting aside comfort and safety to speak up, to march, to call for accountability and to do what they could to make a flawed society more perfect. So it is today."
— Tim Cook

The big picture: The tech industry remains heavily white and Asian, with most large companies struggling to live up to their own goals around diversity. According to its most recent diversity report, underrepresented groups made up 24% of Apple's U.S. workforce and 31% of new hires.

  • Those numbers reflect Apple's more diverse retail staff. Fewer black and Latino workers are in its engineering ranks, and its executive suite is nearly all white.

Meanwhile: Also on Thursday, YouTube announced its own $100 million project aimed at supporting the black community.

  • The Google-owned video platform is establishing a fund in that amount to underwrite original programming and other efforts aimed at "amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists," CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a blog post.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Sep 15, 2020 - Technology

Apple updates Apple Watch and iPad models, adds fitness service

Screenshot: Axios via Apple.com

Apple on Tuesday unveiled new iPad and Apple Watch models, as well as a new fitness service and Apple One, which bundles the company's main services for one monthly price.

Context: Apple has launched new iPhones in September in the past, but production issues have flipped the script this year and the new smartphones are expected to be unveiled at a second event, likely next month.

Mike Allen, author of AM
40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's next power play

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), America's ultimate swing voter, told me on "Axios on HBO" that he'll insist Republicans have more of a voice on President Biden's next big package than they did on the COVID stimulus.

The big picture: Manchin said he'll push for tax hikes to pay for Biden's upcoming infrastructure and climate proposal, and will use his Energy Committee chairmanship to force the GOP to confront climate reality.

Why picking a jury for the Derek Chauvin trial is so hard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The tough task of selecting a jury for former MPD officer Derek Chauvin's trial for the killing of George Floyd is set to begin Monday.

The state of play: "This case may be the most highly publicized criminal trial in a long time. ... That means that it's harder to find people who really have an open mind," Richard Frase, University of Minnesota Law School professor of criminal law, told Axios.