Re. Apple

A,

We’re in the headlines after we stunned everyone at Apple’s big shareholder meeting this week!

Thanks to your signing, sharing and emailing your pension and investment funds, we got FOUR TIMES as many votes for human rights at the annual meeting than in any previous year.

newspaper headlines that read apple investor vote sounds warning over china app takedowns apple shareholders call for human rights transparency and apple survives shareholder revolt over free speech from the new york times financial times and telegraph

It was an unforgettable day for Tibetan-American activist Sonamtso and SumOfUs’ very own Vicky. I couldn’t make the trip to California, so I stayed glued to my phone for updates!

classic selfie image of two women with the caption stop apple censorship

Sonamtso and Vicky after the AGM. Watch video on Facebook or on YouTube.

Armed with our 130,000 strong petition -- signed by SumOfUs members like you -- the intrepid pair made their way to the Steve Jobs Auditorium at Apple HQ, California.

Sonamtso was excited and nervous. It was up to her to make a speech to persuade Apple’s board to take action on free expression. She... was speaking for us all directly to the top bosses of the world's second most valuable company. And she nailed it! Watch the video of her speech on Facebook or YouTube.

Minutes later, Sonamtso got her own face to face time with Apple’s big boss Tim Cook. She politely confronted him and delivered our petition!

a crowd of people around apple ceo tim cook labelled blue arrows point to him and sonamsto who has her back to us

When the vote came, a surge of support meant more than 40% of Apple investors backed us -- even though the company told them not to and tried to block us at every turn.

Two firms that advise the world’s largest investors on how to vote at company’s annual meetings -- ISS and Glass Lewis -- came out in support of human rights and recommended that investors vote for our proposal.

It looks like big investors listened to them, as well as to 5,479 SumOfUs members who sent emails to their pension and mutual fund managers, asking them to support our proposal.

Apple bosses know they have to respond. They’ve ignored us for years -- but hours before the meeting, maybe panicking at what was to come, we finally got an email from Apple. It’s a start -- and we’ll be pushing to meet them face to face.

Apple bosses haven’t agreed to stop backing the government of China -- yet. But it’s very clear we’ve rattled them.

A, can you help build on this breakthrough? If you become a regular donor you’ll give us the financial security to step up the pressure on Apple. Can you chip in a few coins a month?

I’ll leave you with one final image from this week. Let’s remember why we’re doing this.

four people lighting butter lamps in a monastery in dharmsala with the captions we are lighting these lamps in hope that apple will see the light

Tibetan activists in Dharamsala light lamps for the oppressed Tibetan, Chinese, Uyghur and Hong Kong peoples. Watch the video on Facebook or Youtube.

Millions of people are living in fear of the government of China. Waiting for a knock on the door. Terrified of the concentration camps that await those who displease the authorities.

If we keep working together, we can build on our success this week. Together, we will make Apple see the light and stop helping the government of China hurt people.

Thanks for all that you do,
Sondhya and the team at SumOfUs


More information:

Apple Investor Vote Sounds 'Warning' Over China App Takedowns, New York Times, 26 February 2020
Apple survives shareholder revolt over free speech, The Telegraph 26 February 2020
Apple shareholders call for human rights transparency, Financial Times (paywall), 26 February 2020


SumOfUs is a community of people from around the world committed to curbing the growing power of corporations. We want to buy from, work for and invest in companies that respect the environment, treat their workers well and respect democracy. And we’re not afraid to stand up to them when they don’t.

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