Cisco Live 2020 Postponed Amid Tragic Moment in History

Tech vendors are displaying solidarity against injustice.

Lynn Haber

June 2, 2020

4 Min Read
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Cisco chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins on Tuesday postponed Cisco Live 2020, the company’s first virtual event. He based the decision on customer and partner feedback amid the combined escalation of U.S. racial tensions and the worldwide pandemic. The company plans to reschedule Cisco Live 2020 later this month.

Cisco is one of many technology vendors expressing outrage against racial injustice and pledging financial support for organizations working to combat racism. The list also includes Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Verizon and more.

“We’ve made the decision to postpone Cisco Live. 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 leadership and technology insights, and celebrate, as we always do,” Robbins said in a video. “But, in light of recent events, the turmoil happening across the United States, and with your feedback, we feel that this is the right thing to do. And, that is something we always strive for at Cisco.”

Pain and Frustration

Robbins talked about the pain, frustration and anger many are feeling — and the need for space and healing.

“Today, we find ourselves facing another pandemic. Not one that is new by any means, but one that we must confront,” he said. “The recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Brionna Taylor and so many before them, are horrific, maddening and truly abhorrent. At Cisco we have always aspired to foster an environment of dignity, respect, fairness and equality for all. Not just within the walls, or virtual walls these days, of our company, but this is the world we envision.”

Cisco is donating $5 million to charities that fight racism and discrimination. It’s part of the company’s recently unveiled purpose — to empower an inclusive future for all. Robbins noted that there is more to do beyond making a statement of solidarity and financial support.

“That includes acknowledgement, understanding and action,” he said.

Tech Community Comes Together

The chorus of outrage against racism and hate in this country included that of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

“There is no place for hate and racism in our society. Empathy and shared understanding are a start, but we must do more. I stand with the Black and African American community and we are committed to building on this work in our company and in our communities,” he tweeted.

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Microsoft is using the company’s platform to amplify voices from the Black and African American community at Microsoft.

IBM’s new CEO, Arvind Krishna, addressed racism on LinkedIn:

“All over the U.S., we have seen a number of deeply painful and heartbreaking events,” Krishna wrote. “Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and, more recently, George Floyd, amongst many others. Like you, I’m pained and appalled by their deaths. These events are tragic. They have …

… shaken us to our core … and although they happened in the U.S., they have caught the world’s attention. They bring to light the inequality, bias, prejudice and racism that people have dealt with for far too long and continue to deal with on a daily basis.

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that racism is tearing our communities apart,” Krishna continued. “One lesson we should all learn is that silent carriers help spread racism. This is why it falls on all of us to do away with the legacy of bias, prejudice and racism that has led to these unspeakable events. The tragedies that have occurred should strengthen our determination to do more.”

Krishna went on to write that IBM “will not condone racism of any kind.” And it will fight discrimination “in all its forms and wherever it exists.”

More Pledges

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg pledged to donate $10 million to organizations dedicated to equality and social justice. That list includes the National Urban League, the NAACP, National Action Network, and Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights. The Rainbow Push Coalition, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund are among them as well.

“The events unfolding across the country that are rooted in hate are contradictory with our beliefs as a company and leave me with a feeling of regret and sadness,” Vestberg said. “Verizon is fiercely committed to diversity and inclusion across all spectrums because it makes us and the world better. I am hopeful that the rest of the country will come to understand that valuing everyone equally is the best way forward.”

Vestberg said Verizon can’t commit to its promise of moving the world forward unless the company helps ensure it moves forward for everyone.

“We stand united as one Verizon,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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