Exclusive: Apple's Lisa Jackson On Empowering The Hispanic Community and Giving Back
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives talks to People CHICA about the company's $30 million contribution to support students, innovators and advocacy organizations working to create a more inclusive, just world. Here's what this means for our Hispanic community.
As part of its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), Apple just announced a new $30 million contribution to support students, innovators, and advocacy organizations devoted to promoting justice, equity and inclusion. "Tim Cook, our CEO, is always really clear that companies have to stand for something in the world. He wants the world to be better because Apple is in it," Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives tells People CHICA.
Jackson leads Apple's Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) launched in June of 2020 "in the wake of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor killings and all that the country was going through," she says. In 2020, Apple made it clear it was devoted to fighting for racial equity and justice. The tech giant started with a $100 million dollar commitment when REJI was launched "and of course this announcement is 30 million dollars in new commitments to join the tens of millions we've already committed, well over 100 million and counting," she adds.
What does this mean for the Hispanic community? "It was only right and just that we continue the effort to ensure that all of our work— whether it's education, economic empowerment, or criminal justice reform expanded to the Hispanic Latinx community as well," says Jackson.
These new projects include a Global Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Equity Innovation Hub; expanded education initiatives for community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and a new cohort of the Apple Entrepreneur Camp immersive tech lab for Hispanic/Latinx founders and developers.
"We want to make sure that the App Store and our entrepreneurs and our app developers include Hispanic Latinx businesses, owned and started by men and women who have a dream and access to coding, and know how to write a truly great app and to do business in a digital economy," Jackson says. "The entrepreneur camp and the tech lab is a chance for those young leaders and entrepreneurs to learn what makes a great app, what makes great marketing, how do you position your product so that you get the most number of customers and you are able to turn your idea of a business into reality."
Apple is partnering with the California State University (CSU) to launch a Global Hispanic Serving Institution Equity Innovation Hub. This public-private partnership between the state of California, the CSU, and Apple will work in collaboration with Hispanic-serving institutions throughout the nation to foster student success by equipping learners — including Hispanic/Latinx, Black, and Asian American students — with skills for high-demand careers.
Another crucial part of the announcement is Apple's funding for leaders working to advance criminal justice reform and environmental justice. The company will invest in organizations that support racial justice, including the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, The Council on Criminal Justice, Innocence Project, The Last Mile, Recidiviz, The Sentencing Project, and Vera Institute of Justice. Apple is partnering with several community colleges to implement programs that will help incarcerated and paroled individuals learn new skills and work to prevent recidivism.
Additionally, Apple is committing funding to Black-, Hispanic/Latinx-, and Indigenous-led organizations that are grounded in advancing environmental justice, and advocating for communities most impacted by climate change and environmental disparities. Recipients include Hispanic Access Foundation, First Nations Development Institute, The Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, and the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice.
"We don't have time to waste," Jackson adds about addressing current challenges in education, equity or protecting our environment. "Those are big problems, but we don't have time to think about how big they are, we have to think about solutions. I have children myself, they are grown men, in their twenties, and I think about wanting to always know I did everything I can to ensure a future for them," she emphasizes. "They are black men so I know that they have to work to beat the odds every day —and that's true for the Hispanic and Latinx community as well. I actually get hope from young people because young people are fearless about speaking out and holding a mirror up to society and saying— we all have to be part of the equitable future. We have to pull together."
For more information visit apple.com/racial-equity-justice-initiative.