As part of her midyear update, CEO Susan Wojcicki announced via YouTube’s blog Thursday that the site will be launching “a multiyear $100 million fund dedicated to amplifying and developing the voices of black creators and artists and their stories.”
The first order of business will be a YouTube Originals event, “Bear Witness, Take Action,” which will air Saturday at 6 p.m. EST.
The fundraiser is meant to “bring together creators, artists, influential public figures and prominent activist voices for roundtable discussions and musical performances.”
On Thursday, YouTube released an ad for the special, which describes itself as “A Conversation About Race in America” and will feature the likes of John Legend, Roxane Gay, as well as activists, and YouTubers.
The somber ad also spotlights some of the names of innocent black Americans who made headlines after they were killed by police. Among the names listed are Eric Garner, Botham Jean, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. Both Jean and Taylor were 26 and killed in their respective homes.
Proceeds from the special will go toward the Equal Justice Initiative, which strives to end the United States’ mass incarceration, as well as excessive punishment, in an effort to preserve human rights for those who are vulnerable, according to EJI’s site.
YouTube will spend the remainder of the month shining a light on issues of racial justice on the site’s Spotlight channel, which will also offer educational videos, coverage of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, and more.
“We will work to ensure Black users, artists, and creators can share their stories and be protected from hateful, white supremacist, and bullying content,” Wojcicki wrote. “I’m committed to listening — to Black employees at YouTube, to Black creators, to Black artists, to leaders in the Black community, and to Black users who tune in to YouTube every day.”
YouTube’s announcement was made in tandem with those of similar tech giants in the wake of Floyd’s murder late last month, when a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest for a non-violent crime.
Also on Thursday, Apple committed $100 million to its new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.
Last week, YouTube parent company Google pledged $12 and Facebook pledged $10 million to organizations aiming to address racial inequities, and Amazon donated $10 million to social justice organizations.
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