Cisco Systems in the eleventh hour postponed its first-ever virtual Cisco Live event slated to start on Tuesday amid worldwide outcry over the death of George Floyd and resulting protests.
"At Cisco, we have always aspired to foster an environment of dignity, respect, fairness and equality for all," said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins in a video statement. "In light of what is going on in the world at this time, we have made the decision to postpone Cisco Live this week."
Delaying Cisco Live, which had more than 60,000 registrants a day before it was scheduled, is a strong statement that demonstrates the importance of uniting and supporting families and communities this week, said Kent MacDonald, senior vice president of strategic alliances at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based solution provider and longtime Cisco partner.
"I couldn’t be prouder to be a Cisco Partner with the leadership Cisco and [Robbins] has shown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial divide, xenophobia and inequality we are facing as a society. The world needs more Cisco [and] I encourage other CEOs in the IT community to join [Robbins]," MacDonald said.
MacDonald said that Long View, like Cisco, has also donated to social justice causes this week.
Robbins took to Twitter over the weekend to voice his outrage for racism and inequality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, calling recent events "abhorrent" and that "it’s far overdue for all of us to take action to eradicate systemic racism, xenophobia, inequality [and] all forms of bigotry in America. How we respond will be an important moment in our nation’s history."
Robbins promised that Cisco will help lead social justice efforts. The tech leader on Monday held a company-wide check-in with all employees and Cisco's executive leadership team to talk, grieve, and discuss actions to make a difference, according to his internal note to employees reviewed by CRN USA.
Robbins followed up by announcing via Twitter on Monday evening that Cisco is committing $5 million to several groups focused on social justice causes, including the Equal Justice Initiative, the Legal Defense Fund, Color Of Change, Black Lives Matter, and the company's own fund for fighting racism and discrimination.
"As I've said, we need ACTION to eradicate racism, inequality, and injustice. The first step for @Cisco is committing $5M," Robbins said in a tweet.
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.
A new date for Cisco Live virtual has not yet been announced, but Robbins said it would be held later in June.