Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai told employees it will commit to more than $175 million toward funding more Black businesses, as well as increase Black representation in leadership. It will also end peer badge-checks, which some employees have said encourage racist behavior.
“Over the past several weeks, violent and racist attacks against the Black community have forced the world to reckon with the structural and systemic racism that Black people have experienced over generations,” Pichai said in a blog post Wednesday. “My own search for answers started within our own walls.”
The commitments come after a police officer killed George Floyd, sparking worldwide protests. A few days after the video of the killing was released, Pichai said the company would donate $12 million toward organizations supporting racial justice. Last week, YouTube announced $100 million fund to “amplify” Black creators and artists.
It also comes after the company faced backlash for reportedly rolling back diversity programs and providing broken links when employees tried to access resources.
Black employees account for just 3.3 percent of Google’s overall workforce, with little change over the last several years.
The $175 million “economic opportunity package,” will go toward supporting Black business owners, startup founders, job seekers and developers, Pichai said. $50 million will go toward financing and grants for small businesses, focused on the Black community. $100 million will go toward funding participation in Black-led capital firms, startups and organizations supporting Black entrepreneurs, “including increased investments in Plexo Capital and non-dilutive funding to Black founders in the Google for Startups network.” The rest will go toward skills training and increasing representation in its developer ecosystem.
Pichai went on to announce several commitments to build “sustainable equity for the “Black+” community, adding that it will help Google build more helpful products for users. The company said it counts “multiracial people as a member of all the racial categories they identify with” and uses + to represent this.
Improve representation by 30 percent by 2025. “First, we’re working to improve Black+ representation at senior levels and committing to a goal to improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30 percent by 2025,” Pichai said. ”To help achieve this, we’ll post senior leadership roles externally as well as internally, and increase our investments in places such as Atlanta, Washington DC, Chicago, and London, where we already have offices.”
Rolling out anti-racism training globally early next year. ”We’ll be welcoming external experts into Google to share their expertise on racial history and structural inequities, and start conversations on education, allyship, and self-reflection,” Pichai said.
Ending peer-based badge-checks. “Over the past year, our Global Security and Resilience team partnering with a cross-functional working group, conducted extensive research, listened to Black Googlers’ experiences, and developed and tested new security procedures to ensure we could maintain the safety and security of the Google community without relying on this type of enforcement,” Pichai said. “Now, as we prepare to return to the office, we will end the practice of Googlers badge-checking each other and rely on our already robust security infrastructure.”