Tech

Google CEO says company will hold moment of silence on Wednesday for George Floyd

Key Points
  • Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai told employees to take 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to honor black lives lost.
  • He said the company will give $12 million in grants to organizations that provide racial equity.
  • Pichai said he met with black Google employees Tuesday.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, speaks to the media before the opening of the Berlin representation of Google Germany in Berlin on January 22, 2019.
Carsten Koall | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Google CEO Sundar Pichai encouraged employees to take a moment of silence Wednesday afternoon to honor black lives lost.

"I realize that nothing about this week feels like business as usual—and it shouldn't," Pichai said in an email to employees Wednesday. "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."

"Today at 1:00pm PDT we'll be standing together to honor the memories of Black lives lost in an 8 minute and 46 second moment of silence," he continued.

The silence represents the length of time a white police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, before Floyd died. Since that incident was captured on video on Memorial Day, it has gone viral and ignited worldwide protests.

Google reportedly has been cutting back its diversity and inclusion programs since 2018.

Pichai also said the company will provide $12 million in funding to organizations working to address racial inequities. As a result of an internal giving campaign launched last week, he said employees have already contributed an additional $2.5 million that the company said it will match.

Pichai said that, on Tuesday, he met with a group of black leaders within the company to talk about where it should go from here.

"We discussed many ideas, and we are working through where to put our energy and resources in the weeks and months ahead," he said. "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."

The public commitments also come the same day the company shot down shareholder proposals that asked the company to expand diversity and inclusion efforts, including by linking metrics to company executive compensation. 

"As America faces a painful new reckoning around racism, white supremacy and gender injustice, our company remains predominantly white and male," said Pat Miguel Tomaino on behalf of lead filer Zevin Asset Management in Wednesday's shareholder meeting. 

"Alphabet must move beyond words, pledges and reporting. It must move toward accountability." 

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