Crowds gather in Washington, D.C. on May 29, 2020 to protest racism and discrimination.
Image: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

As racial inequalities again take center stage in the United States, some companies are putting aside scheduled events as the world focuses instead on the condemnation of racism, discrimination and senseless violence.
The all-digital Cisco Live 2020, which was to take place Tuesday and Wednesday, has been postponed until later in June. Cisco is also donating $5 million to charities dedicated to fighting racism and discrimination.

Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins said in a video clip on the Cisco website, “This decision was a difficult one to come by given how badly we want to connect with you, share what we’ve been working on at Cisco, offer you both technology and leadership insights, and celebrate as we always do. But in light of recent events and the turmoil happening across the United States and with some of your feedback we feel this is the right thing to do and that is something we always strive for at Cisco. Right now, people across the US and the world are dealing with so much pain and frustration and anger and many of us need time for space and healing, whether it’s to support your families, friends and colleagues or simply time for yourself.”

Robbins continued, “We want to give you space this week to go do what you need to do within your own organizations and communities. We look forward to hosting you for Cisco Live soon and we’ll be coming back to you in the next few days to announce our new dates later in June.”

He said that the past six months of a global health crisis has changed everything employers do, from how companies interact to how they do business, changing it from a physical to a virtual to a remote workplace.

“Today we find ourselves facing another pandemic. Not one that is new by any means but one that we must confront,” Robbins said, referencing the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. 

Sony, Google and EA Sports postpone events and announcements

Sony postponed its PlayStation 5 event that was scheduled for June 4. The website has an announcement that references the unrest in the world right now: “While we understand gamers worldwide are excited to see PS5 games, we do not feel that right now is a time for celebration and for now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard.” A rescheduled date for the event has not been announced.

PlayStation also published a tweet that supports the Black Lives Matter movement: “We denounce systemic racism and violence against the Black community,” the company wrote. “We will continue to work towards a future marked by empathy and inclusion and stand with our black creators, players, employees, families and friends. #BlackLivesMatter.”

EA Sports is postponing the launch of its Madden NFL 21 game. The company announced via Twitter the following statement: “We stand with our African American/black community of friends, players, colleagues and partners. Our immediate attention is on actions we can take to drive change against the unjust treatment and systemic bias that is plaguing the nation and our world.”

Google has also delayed its Android 11 beta release, which was set for Wednesday. In a tweet that alludes to the ongoing protests, the company said, “now is not the time to celebrate.”