While my tenure with tech giant Apple is rapidly coming to an end, I have never been more proud to be a part of this technically innovative and socially inclusive company than on this past Saturday. In terms of work days, it was routine for me: wake up, hot shower, get dressed, cold cereal for breakfast, brush the old chompers then the requisite checking of work emails as I head out the door. When I saw the email from Mr. Cook with the simple subject line, “Immigration”, I stopped in my tracks, the grip on my keys tightened just a little as they hovered in seeming suspended animation over the lock to my home as I began to read.
Like a true leader, Mr. Cook spoke compassionately to those being directly affected, empathetically to those who felt marginalized and unequivocally critical to our new administration regarding the atrocity that is President Trump’s newly implemented travel ban. Out of the multiplicity of truths spoken in the body of the email, one resonated with me in particular: “Apple would not exist without immigration …” And it’s apparently resonated with the world as well as is evidenced by how widely the phrase is being reported.
So there I stood, with the cold morning air caressing the nape of my neck, moved nearly to tears as I pondered the depth and range of those words. And it hit me in the most beautiful, existential and revelatory sense that without immigration, not only would companies like Apple not exist but none of us would. Period. This free, open, beautiful patch of republic that we call America simply would not thrive the way it has without immigration and our historically open approach to it. America has always held its arms open to those who come here in search of a better life because it is the tenet upon which this country was established. The founding fathers left England to come here in search of a better way, a fresh start for themselves, their families and their succeeding generations. This nation was founded and built by immigrants so how dare our new president saunter into power like some snake oil salesman and attempt to rob us of the very cornerstone of who we are? Really though, how dare he?
Once I finished the email, I closed my eyes and swallowed the emotion threatening to spill from me. After a beat that seemed to be an eternity, I opened them and time found its normal pace as I inserted the key in its lock. But something began to happen within me as brass scraped against brass. Frustration gave way to hope and a lightning bolt-esque sense of pride stood me upright. Satisfied now that my residence was secure, I took a moment to glance at the Apple logo embroidered on my shirt and the corporate badge affixed to my belt. Involuntarily and despite myself, the smile that gradually creased my face seemed to grow a bit more broad than usual. And it wasn’t merely because I am a part of the incredible company that is Apple that my chest seemed to stick out farther than it had in a while. On that Saturday morning, I was suddenly replete with an almost overwhelming sense of pride and global optimism because the company that employs me and helps me provide for my family is led by an individual who actually stands for something more than the almighty dollar, that at its daunting helm sits a man who doesn’t hesitate to join himself and Apple’s vast resourses to issues that are bigger than both him and the company he leads, that he consistently chooses to place human dignity over workplace productivity. That he recognized wrong is wrong and right is right and that he chose to do something about it.
So yes, my run with Apple is coming to an end but I’m so proud that long after I’ve handed in my resignation, I can say that I was a part of this great company on the day that Tim Cook stood up to tyranny, indignity, bullying, bigotry and basic human indecency.
Job well done, Mr. Cook!
Think Passionately. Disrupt Strategically.
-A. Lawrence Haskins
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