After Google and Twitter, Microsoft has finally showed support to the Black Community. In an email from CEO Satya Nadella to Microsoft employees, the 52-year-old said, “As we see the everyday racism, bias and violence experienced by the Black and African American community, the tragic and horrific murders of so many, the violence in cities across the US, it is time for us to act in all arenas.”
With calls for action, calls for reflection, calls for change from Microsoft employees over the past several days, Nadella said his response is this: “Yes. We have to act.” The actions must reflect the values of Microsoft company and be directly informed by the needs of the Black and African American community. “We must continue to nurture the energy and passion that the Blacks at Microsoft employee resource group fueled in all of us since its founding in 1989. We have been on a cultural transformation journey and must accelerate our pace of change. Each of us, starting with me, must look at where we are as individuals, confront our fixed mindset and act. Our humanity is what calls out to us to make the world a better place,” added Nadella.
Microsoft will deepen its engagement with six organizations that are advancing social justice, helping community organizers address racial inequality, and offering solidarity to the Black community: Black Lives Matter Foundation, Equal Justice Initiative, Innocence Project, The Leadership Conference, Minnesota Freedom Fund, and NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund. “This starts with a company donation of $250,000 to each of these organizations ($1.5 million in total), followed by a company match of our employees’ contributions to eligible organizations. Together, through your giving and the company match, we have donated more than $15 million to civil rights, social action, and advocacy nonprofit organizations since 2015,” stated the Microsoft CEO.
In Microsoft’s Employee Town Hall last week, Nadella said “each of us – starting with me and the senior leaders at the company – has a role to play. We cannot episodically wake up when a new tragedy occurs. A systemic problem requires a holistic response.”
Stating that he is heartbroken by the deep pain the communities are feeling, the Microsoft CEO said “The results of systemic racism, which have impacted opportunities and exacerbated injustices for Black and African American communities, urge me to consider my own role as a leader. I must continue my journey of understanding and empathy and examine actions I take, or don’t take, every day. Listening and learning from my Black and African American colleagues is helping me develop a better understanding of their experience. And I take accountability for my own continued learning on the realities of privilege, inequity and race and modelling the behaviour I want to see in the world.”
While addressing the Microsoft employees, Nadella added that as a company, we need to look inside, examine our organization, and do better. Microsoft needs to embrace the same speed and mindset that we do in anticipating and building for future technological shifts. With each passing day, Microsoft works to bridge the gap between the culture all espouse and the daily lived experience.
Besides this, Microsoft invests in the talent pipeline broadly as it has expanded its connections with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The company also has to create an environment where all voices are heard and valued. “I ask each of us to recommit to our shared D&I priority, participate in our inclusion learning programs, use the tools and resources we have shared on becoming an effective ally for others. We have the capabilities to make Microsoft more diverse and inclusive, but we must do the work, added Nadella.
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