Sundar Pichai leads Googlers in 8 minute 46 second ‘moment of silence’

Sundar Pichai
Sundar Pichai; photo credit: Google

Indian American CEO announces $12 million in funding to address racial inequities.

At 1:00pm Pacific time Wednesday afternoon, Googlers led by their Indian American CEO observed an  8 minute and 46 second ‘moment of silence’ to honor black lives lost amid nationwide protests against police brutality.

“The length of the moment of silence represents the amount of time George Floyd suffered before he was killed,” Pichai wrote in an email to employee reminding them how the black man died with his neck under the knee of a white policeman.

“It’s meant to serve as a visceral reminder of the injustice inflicted on Mr. Floyd and so many others,” he said announcing $12 million in new funding to organizations working to address racial inequities.

Seizing on the time span that has become a potent symbol of police brutality, mourners stood for 8 minutes, 46 seconds at Floyd’s memorial service Thursday in Minneapolis where he died on May 25.

Indian American Raja Krishnamoorthi was among those  “joining Americans across the country in a moment of silence lasting 8 minutes and 46 seconds in memory of #GeorgeFloyd,” he tweeted.

READ: Indra Nooyi, Sundar Pichai raise voices against ‘systemic racism’  (June 2, 2020)

Several cities including Boston and New York have either held or holding similar ‘moment of silence’ events with five Democratic senators taking a knee during an eight minute 46 second silence for Floyd at the Capitol Thursday.

“I realize that nothing about this week feels like business as usual—and it shouldn’t,” Pichai wrote in his “Hi Googlers,” email. “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.”

Pichai said he had met with a group of our Black leaders on Tuesday “to talk about where we go from here and how we can contribute as Google.”

“We acknowledge that racism and violence may look different in different parts of the world,” he wrote, “ So please use this as a moment to reflect on those who have been lost in your own country or community at a time that works for you.”

Noting that “coming together as a community and showing support is important, but it isn’t enough,” Pichai also announced “a few initial commitments to meet the urgency of the moment.”

Google, he announced, will be giving $12 million in funding to organizations working to address racial inequities with its first grants of $1 million each going “to our long-term partners at the Center for Policing Equity and the Equal Justice Initiative.”

Google will also be providing technical support through its Google.org Fellows program.

This builds on the $32 million Google has donated to racial justice over the past five years, Pichai said promising to offer $25 million in Ad Grants to help organizations fighting racial injustice provide critical information.

Google, he said was matching an an additional $2.5 million in donations made by Google employees as a result of last week’s internal giving campaign.

“This represents the largest Googler giving campaign in our company’s history, with both the largest amount raised by employees and the broadest participation,” Pichai wrote.

“Supporting worthy organizations is a step in the right direction, but it is not a replacement for doing the harder work ahead both within and outside of Google.”

Noting that “events of the past few weeks reflect deep structural challenges,” Pichai vowed to “work closely with our Black community to develop initiatives and product ideas that support long-term solutions.”

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