People all over the globe have been joining in on a movement for justice and equality. Ever since the world witnessed the murder of George Floyd on social media, protests and riots have surfaced to the top. People of all professions and backgrounds have taken a stance to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Along with those protestors, esports organizations and game developers also made their voices heard. One business, Pokémon GO developer Niantic, has released a plan of action outlining the donations and changes in their workplace.
“We are witnessing an unprecedented movement that opposes the systemic racism that limits opportunity and oppresses billions of people around the world,” the statement opens. “As the past few days have made clear, we must do better.” Throughout the letter, Niantic CEO John Hanke outlines the company’s plan of action to improve its commitment and allyship to inclusive gaming. Additionally, he mentions its donations to programs that support racial equality.
We stand with the Black community & against white supremacy, racism, & police brutality & condemn the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop & countless others. Here's how we’re committing to change #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/jfYGinhl2e pic.twitter.com/Y0P3f1E2PQ
— Niantic, Inc. (@NianticLabs) June 3, 2020
Improving the workspace
In its plan to improve the workplace, Niantic indicates its need to support its Black and underrepresented minority employees. It also calls upon its non-Black employees to help combat systemic racism and social injustice in the industry.
The first order of action is to develop Diversity and Inclusion training with a focus on allyship. Hanke states it is the responsibility of their non-Black employees to educate themselves and each other. Next, Niantic plans to up its commitment to Treehouse, whose mission is to diversify the tech industry. Additionally, it will hire five UX/ Designers and five QA analysts for apprenticeships. Afterward, it plans to hire 80-100% of them.
Other calls to action include expanding its partnership with Gameheads, a nonprofit that teaches game development to children. Niantic plans to provide $25,000 in scholarships and more.
Donations and support
Like many other organizations, Niantic has also chosen to donate a lump sum of money to organizations that support the cause. It plans to donate all proceeds from the Pokémon Go Fest 2020 ticket sales for new projects from Black Gaming. Half of these proceeds, at least $5 million, will go to supporting black creators. Niantic will donate the other half to US nonprofits that help local communities rebuild.
Additionally, it will donate over $100,000 to the Marsha P. Johnson Insitute. This will provide support for Black trans people as well as non-Black LGBTQ+ communities.
These words ring true now more than ever. We can and must do better. I stand in support of the black community. https://t.co/H5KvVo7tJd
— John Hanke (@johnhanke) May 29, 2020
A history of progressive views
Niantic has a history of social responsibility, so its support of Black Lives Matter comes as no surprise. In the past, it has created social impact through education, environmental protection, and female empowerment. It has partnerships with the National Park Foundation, as well as Tech Row Fund and more.
Moreover, Hanke pleads for readers to educate themselves on what’s going on in the world and to contribute to the movement. The fight for justice and racial equality continues on, and Niantic is here to lend a helping hand.