Cisco's Chuck Robbins Speaks Out On 'Abhorrent' Racism, Frustration With 'Lack Of Change'

"It’s far overdue for all of us to take action to eradicate systemic racism, xenophobia, inequality and all forms of bigotry in America," says Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.


Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins joined many of the world's largest tech leaders in voicing his outrage for racism and inequality in the wake of the death of George Floyd over the weekend.

“What’s happening in the U.S. is abhorrent,” said Robbins on Twitter on May 30. “It’s far overdue for all of us to take action to eradicate systemic racism, xenophobia, inequality & all forms of bigotry in America. How we respond will be an important moment in our nation’s history. @Cisco will lead. #blacklivesmatter.”

Floyd's death in Minneapolis on May 25 has resulted in worldwide outrage and protests in more than 30 U.S. cities over the weekend.

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[Related: Presidio CEO Bob Cagnazzi On George Floyd’s Death: ‘Everyone Should Have The Right To Breathe Freely’]

The San Jose, Calif.-based vendor did not immediately respond to CRN before publication on Monday regarding specific steps it will take to combat social justice issues. Robbins, however, did share his internal memo to Cisco employees on LinkedIn in which the tech leader voiced his "frustration" with the lack of action and change.

"People across the globe were already facing the worst health crisis of a lifetime are now painfully reminded about the racial divide, xenophobia and inequality that remains all too prevalent today. Sadly, these issues are not new nor are they specific to one part of the world for many of us as they are rooted deep in our history as we have seen the seat for centuries," Robbins told Cisco employees in the memo.

Robbins on Monday shared that the Ford Foundation, an organization aimed at advancing human welfare and opportunities for all, launched the Global Fellows Program to support budding social justice leaders. "I can’t wait to see what these amazing Fellows can accomplish together!" he said in a tweet. Robbins serves on the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees.

A known humanitarian, Robbins and Cisco have focused on issues such as hunger, education, affordable housing and homelessness globally and in the Bay area, where Cisco is headquartered. Under Robbins' leadership, Cisco last June teamed up with the international advocacy organization Global Citizen in a three-year, multimillion-dollar partnership focused on efforts to meet the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development and to end extreme poverty by 2030.

In addition to Robbins, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a memo to employees pointing to "deeply rooted discrimination" in the US justice system. VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger also took to Twitter to support social justice, saying “there is no time or place for racial injustice" and that his prayer was for equality. Intel's CEO Bob Swan on Monday said his company was pledging $1 million in donations to anti-racism and social justice groups in response to the "senseless acts of racism and violence that recently took the lives” of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.