By Ryan Velez
An article from Black Enterprise says that Google.org, the charitable aspect of Google, has recently announced that it will invest $11.5 million in a new funding to 10 racial justice organizations. In a blog for the foundation, Justin Steele, principal of Google.org, explained the need for moves such as this with a personal narrative.
“I’m the grandson of a Port of Seattle police officer, the nephew of a Washington State Trooper, and the son of a Snohomish County Detention Chief. The Black men in my family were all engaged in some form of law enforcement, and throughout my lifetime, I’ve seen law enforcement officers be a force for good in communities. But I’ve also borne witness to injustices that have shaken my faith in our criminal justice system. In my work at Google.org, I help identify causes and organizations that aim to ultimately help correct many of these injustices,” Steele shared.
He also expanded these issues to a national conversation, such as mass incarceration. “Mass incarceration is a huge issue in the United States and a major area of focus for our grants. The U.S. penal population has exploded, growing by 400% since 1984 to more than 2 million today, with black men sentenced at over five times the rate of white men. We have the highest rate of incarceration in the world, dwarfing the rates of every developed country and even surpassing those in highly repressive regimes.”
While attending to issues such as mass incarceration and mistreatment of people of color by law enforcement are imperative, allowing for a future of true equality is providing equal opportunities along with equal treatment. As a result, funding will go to a wide range of organizations. These include groups like Center for Policing Equity, Impact Justice, and Center for Employment Opportunities—one of the several groups funded that work on supplying the previously incarcerated with marketable job skills. They are also providing money to organizations using data and evidence to try and find racial disparities in the justice system.
This is not the first time that Google has tried to support organizations dedicated to the cause of racial justice. Since 2015, Google.org has committed more than $5 million to nonprofits designed for advancing racial justice. They also gave half a million in funding to Black Lives Matter last year.