Tag Archives: google.org

Making the internet work better for everyone in Africa

By 2034 Africa is expected to have the world’s largest working-age population of 1.1 billion—yet only 3 to 4 million jobs are created annually. That means there’s an urgent need to create opportunities for the millions of people on the continent who are creative, smart and driven to succeed. The internet, and technology as a whole, offer great opportunities for creating jobs, growing businesses and boosting economies. But people need the right skills, tools and products to navigate the digital world and to make it work for them, their businesses and their communities.

Google for Nigeria - Sundar
Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, is interviewed by Nigerian journalist Adesuwa Onyenokwe at our Google for Nigeria event in Lagos.

Today, at our Google for Nigeria event in Lagos, we announced progress we’ve made in our products and features for users in Nigeria, including YouTube, Search and Maps. We also announced initiatives focused on digital skills training, education and economic opportunity, and support for African startups and developers.

Digital Skills for Africa

Last year we set out to help bridge the digital skills gap in Africa when we pledged to train one million young people in the region—and we’ve exceeded this target. Through either in-person or online trainings, we help people learn to build a web presence, use Search to find jobs, get tips to enhance their CV, use social media, and so on. Now we’re expanding this program, and committing to prepare another 10 million people for jobs of the future in the next five years. We’ll also be providing mobile developer training to 100,000 Africans to develop world-class apps, with an initial focus on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Google.org grants

Our charitable arm, Google.org, is committing $20 million over the next five years to nonprofits that are working to improve lives across Africa. We’re giving $2.5 million in initial grants to the nonprofit arms of African startups Gidi Mobile and Siyavula to provide free access to learning for 400,000 low-income students in South Africa and Nigeria. The grantees will also develop new digital learning materials that will be free for anyone to use.

We also want to invite nonprofits from across the continent to share their ideas for how they could impact their community and beyond. So we’re launching a Google.org Impact Challenge in Africa in 2018 to award $5 million in grants. Any eligible nonprofit in Africa can apply, and anyone will be able to help select the best ideas by voting online.

Launchpad Accelerator Africa

We want to do more to support African entrepreneurs in building successful technology companies and products. Based on our global Launchpad Accelerator program, this initiative will provide more than $3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship, working space and access to expert advisers to more than 60 African startups over three years. Intensive three-month programs, held twice per year, will run out of a new Google Launchpad Space in Lagos—the program’s first location outside of the United States.

Making our products work better in Africa

For people to take advantage of digital opportunities, acquiring the right skills and tools is only part of the equation. Online products and services—including ours—also need to work better in Africa. Today, we’re sharing news about how we’re making YouTube, Search and Maps more useful and relevant for Nigerian users.

YouTube Go

Designed from the ground up, YouTube Go lets you discover, save and share videos you love in a way that’s transparent about the size of downloads. Designed to be “offline” first, the app improves the experience of watching videos on a slower network and gives control over the amount of data used streaming or saving videos. It’s a full YouTube experience, with fresh and relevant video recommendations tailored to your preferences and the ability to share videos quickly and easily with friends nearby.  In June, Nigeria became the second country where we started actively testing YouTube Go. Later this year, we’ll be expanding this to a beta launch of the app, available to all Nigerian users.

Lagos now on Street View in Google Maps

In the last few months, we’ve improved our address search experience in Lagos, by adding thousands of new addresses and streets, outlines of more than a million buildings in commercial and residential areas, and more than 100,000 additional Nigerian small businesses on Google Maps. Today we’re launching Lagos on Street View, with 10,000 kilometers of imagery, including the most important historic roads in the city. You can virtually drive along the Carter Bridge to the National Stadium or across the Eko Bridge, down to the Marina—all on your smartphone.

Faster web results

When you’re on a 2G-like connection or using a low storage device, pages can take a long time to load. We previously launched a feature that streamlines search results so they load with less data and at high speed.  Today we’re extending that feature to streamline websites you reach from search results, so that they load with 90 percent less data and five times faster, even on low storage devices.  

More local information in Search

We’ve also made several updates to Search to bring more useful, relevant answers and information to people in Nigeria:

  • Knowledge Panels: We’re connecting people with easy access to the answers to things they care about, displaying knowledge cards for everything from local football teams to Nigerian musicians and actors.

  • Health Cards: Later this year we’ll launch more than 800 knowledge cards detailing common symptoms and treatments for the most prevalent health conditions in Nigeria. We’ve partnered with the University of Ibadan to ensure that answers have been reviewed by Nigerian doctors for local relevance and accuracy. Nigeria is one of the first countries where we’re providing locally tailored health answers on Search.  

  • Posts on Google: Posts makes it possible for musicians, entertainers and other public figures to share updates, images and videos directly on Google, for people to see while they explore on the web. Nigeria is the third country where we’ve made this feature available and some of the country’s popular musicians are already using it.

The things we’re announcing today are what drive us—building platforms and products that are relevant and useful for billions, not just the few, and helping people to succeed in the digital economy. That’s why we hope to equip more people, in Africa and elsewhere, with digital skills and tools. We’re excited to be part of Africa’s evolving digital story.

Source: Google LatLong


The Dynamic Learning Project: helping deliver on the promise of tech in the classroom

When it comes to schools, bridging the “digital divide” means more than providing access. While that gap isn’t yet closed, there’s another emerging equity imbalance that goes beyond computers or connectivity. This “second-level digital divide” is fueled by major differences in how effectively that technology is being used for teaching and learning. And it’s especially pronounced in low-income schools, where teachers face a significant disadvantage when it comes to training and professional development. Closing this divide means equipping educators with the skills and tools they need to effectively integrate technology in their classrooms. That’s why we’re launching the Dynamic Learning Project, a new pilot that’s part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that the benefits of technology are truly reaching every classroom.

Research suggests that coaching has a positive impact on teacher practices and student outcomes. So to start, we’re providing a $6.5 million grant to Digital Promise through Google.org in order to launch a pilot that will support full-time coaches at 50 underserved middle schools in five diverse regions across the U.S. These coaches will provide personalized support to help educators learn about technology and use it in their classroom in transformative ways. To set schools up for success, each will receive mentoring support and ongoing professional development from experts at EdTech Team. They’ll also participate in a community of practice with other participating schools, allowing them to share their learnings and expand their professional networks.

Digital Promise selected this first cohort of 50 U.S. middle schools based on need (determined by percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch), existing infrastructure (without requiring any specific type or brand of technology), and innovative leadership committed to helping their teachers succeed. They’ll work with these schools throughout the year, helping the coaches and principals to better harness technology in the classroom.

For years, we’ve worked hard to help more classrooms access technology, and we’re proud that our products are helping millions of teachers and students do incredible things. But we’ve also seen that access to technology on its own is not enough. Making our products free or affordable doesn’t make usage truly equitable, and quality training is critical to ensure that technology is used in effective and meaningful ways. Through coaching, training and support, we’re aiming to empower teachers to further improve student learning outcomes through technology.

While technology alone will not fix or improve education, in the hands of educators who know how to use it, it can be a powerful part of the solution. This pilot is only the very beginning of our work ahead, and we’re eager to see what we will learn and understand how we can help reach even more classrooms in the future.

Source: Education


Helping to fight the hunger crisis in Africa and Yemen

In South Sudan, Somalia, northeastern Nigeria and Yemen this spring, families hopefully watched the horizon for rain clouds. The rain never arrived—and after two years of severe drought, food and water continue to be desperately scarce. Twenty million people across the region are facing starvation due to a drought, as well as prolonged conflicts. The United Nations has called it the largest humanitarian crisis since its founding in 1945, and has called on the international community to act quickly.

Google.org and Googlers have donated more than $1 million to support critical services like screening children for malnutrition, running feeding programs and treating malnourished children in specialized health centers, as well as providing clean water, food, and shelter. And soon, Google volunteers will work hand in hand with Save the Children to support the development of a Hunger Assessment Portal, an interactive tool that will help on-the-ground decision-makers, policymakers and donors use data to make better decisions about where and how to deploy their resources.

This week, we’re helping to raise awareness for a first-of-its-kind coalition of major U.S.-based international nonprofit organizations that have joined together to help respond to the urgent hunger crisis. This Global Emergency Response Coalition will use donations to a new Hunger Relief Fund to bring much-needed food and supplies to those affected, and lay the groundwork for recovery. The coalition includes CARE, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision. Together, these organizations are working in more than 100 countries to reach millions of the world’s most vulnerable people with urgent assistance such as food, water, shelter, education and medical care, as well as resources to build resilience to future food crises. We’ll be linking to their site from the Google.com homepage, and providing advertising credits to raise awareness about their efforts.

This campaign runs through July 27, and we hope you’ll join us in providing support for the coalition at www.globalemergencyresponse.org.

Global hunger crisis - you can help

Celebrating 10 years of GoogleServe

Every June, we celebrate GoogleServe—a month-long campaign to empower Googlers to volunteer in their communities. Googlers have clocked more than 200,000 hours during GoogleServe since it first began in 2007, and the program has inspired a culture of giving and volunteering all year long. As we celebrate our 10th annual GoogleServe, we’re talking with Seth Marbin, the Googler who first came up with the idea.

Keyword: How did the idea for GoogleServe come about?

Seth: I joined the Search Quality team at Google 11 years ago. I was inspired by the company’s culture, social mission, and the belief that any employee could dream up the next big idea. In 2007, our VP of Culture Stacy Sullivan asked Googlers for ideas on how to maintain our unique culture while the company doubled in size. My work with AmeriCorps and City Year taught me that volunteering can bring people together and break down social barriers, so I proposed a global day of community service (which I called Google-palooza!). Googlers jumped on board immediately, and 3,000 Googlers from 45 offices participated in our first GoogleServe.

How has GoogleServe changed over the years?

Well, for starters, it’s a lot bigger! And it’s inspired Googlers to serve beyond the month of June. Googlers now volunteer a quarter of a million hours each year outside GoogleServe, through Google.org programs.

We still provide hands-on help to schools, soup kitchens and homeless shelters, but we’ve evolved GoogleServe to connect Googlers’ professional expertise to nonprofit and community needs. For example, software engineers participate in hackathons, and our recruitment and staffing teams review resumes and conduct interview skills trainings for people who are unemployed or underemployed.

There are 20,000 Googlers volunteering this month. How do you pull off such a massive undertaking?

We work with great partners who ensure that our volunteers have meaningful experiences. For example, HandsOn Bay Area—which helps Googlers find volunteer opportunities—has been a fantastic and committed partner from the beginning. When we came to them in 2012 with 5,500 Google volunteers, we maxed out their capacity to help. They didn’t have the infrastructure to deal with a group of our size, but over time they adjusted and scaled their model so that they could continue working with us. It’s been such a pleasure to watch their evolution, because we wouldn’t be able to run GoogleServe without them. Our partnership was even written about as a case study for Harvard Business School.

What have been your favorite projects over the years?

My favorite projects tap into Googler expertise, align with our company values—like supporting women in tech—and have a lasting impact. U.S. Googlers have volunteered with schools and nonprofits to host Made with Code events, inspiring thousands of girls to consider careers in computer science. In two days of coding, 10 Googlers helped the OpenAustralia Foundation give two million people access to Planning Alerts, which notify residents about local construction and demolition projects. And a team of Googlers in our Seattle office helped launch a mobile app to enable RealChange homeless newspaper vendors to accept digital payments.

How has GoogleServe impacted Googlers?

I’ve found that many Googlers start out with one GoogleServe project and then discover a deeper passion for serving the community. Rebecca Howarth, who helps lead GoogleServe in the Bay Area, told me it’s the single most important part of her career at Google—and it’s not even her “real job.”

For some Googlers, the impact has been so great that they’ve committed their careers to community service. In 2012 Megan Wheeler joined our team as a 20 percenter (Googlers can dedicate 20 percent of their time, outside of their day job, on projects that they’re passionate about), and now she runs the program globally as part of her full time role on the Google.org team.

And it inspires others to continue to serve beyond Google. Former Googler Tory Faries participated in a GoogleServe project in 2010, helping to paint a youth homeless shelter in San Francisco. She was so inspired that she became a weekly volunteer at the shelter. Years later, she has helped to build and lead the global volunteer program at Airbnb.

How has GoogleServe influenced Google’s culture?

When Stacy sent out her email 10 years ago, I believed that a commitment to community service would keep our culture strong no matter how big the company became, and I still believe that today. GoogleServe connects Googlers to causes and community organizations they care about, but it also connects them to other Googlers they wouldn’t have met otherwise. Those bonds are the reason people continue to volunteer with us, and why GoogleServe has become such a big part of our company culture.

Why have you dedicated your career to service?

Community service has always been a part of my life. My wife and I met doing community service and we even incorporated it into our wedding! Before the ceremony, our guests planted seeds on an organic farm that grows food for low-income families. And my kids are a part of GoogleServe too—my daughter Kaia was born just before the first GoogleServe and she and my younger son Jahan have attended a GoogleServe project every year.

So while I’ve always had a passion for service, being a part of the GoogleServe founding team and Google.org honed my life’s mission: to serve and help others serve, to build a better, more compassionate, inclusive, peaceful and just world. I feel incredibly fortunate to work on this every day at Google with an amazing team of passionate colleagues.

What’s your advice for people outside of Google who are interested in starting a volunteering program at their company?

Launch and iterate. Don’t wait for all the details—just get your idea out there and invite others to join in. Volunteering is good for company culture, good for our communities, and good for the world. There’s a growing movement of social intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs working to create positive social change, and there are many case studies and guides that can help anyone create change in their local community.

Celebrating 10 years of GoogleServe

Every June, we celebrate GoogleServe—a month-long campaign to empower Googlers to volunteer in their communities. Googlers have clocked more than 200,000 hours during GoogleServe since it first began in 2007, and the program has inspired a culture of giving and volunteering all year long. As we celebrate our 10th annual GoogleServe, we’re talking with Seth Marbin, the Googler who first came up with the idea.

Keyword: How did the idea for GoogleServe come about?

Seth: I joined the Search Quality team at Google 11 years ago. I was inspired by the company’s culture, social mission, and the belief that any employee could dream up the next big idea. In 2007, our VP of Culture Stacy Sullivan asked Googlers for ideas on how to maintain our unique culture while the company doubled in size. My work with AmeriCorps and City Year taught me that volunteering can bring people together and break down social barriers, so I proposed a global day of community service (which I called Google-palooza!). Googlers jumped on board immediately, and 3,000 Googlers from 45 offices participated in our first GoogleServe.

How has GoogleServe changed over the years?

Well, for starters, it’s a lot bigger! And it’s inspired Googlers to serve beyond the month of June. Googlers now volunteer a quarter of a million hours each year outside GoogleServe, through Google.org programs.

We still provide hands-on help to schools, soup kitchens and homeless shelters, but we’ve evolved GoogleServe to connect Googlers’ professional expertise to nonprofit and community needs. For example, software engineers participate in hackathons, and our recruitment and staffing teams review resumes and conduct interview skills trainings for people who are unemployed or underemployed.

There are 20,000 Googlers volunteering this month. How do you pull off such a massive undertaking?

We work with great partners who ensure that our volunteers have meaningful experiences. For example, HandsOn Bay Area—which helps Googlers find volunteer opportunities—has been a fantastic and committed partner from the beginning. When we came to them in 2012 with 5,500 Google volunteers, we maxed out their capacity to help. They didn’t have the infrastructure to deal with a group of our size, but over time they adjusted and scaled their model so that they could continue working with us. It’s been such a pleasure to watch their evolution, because we wouldn’t be able to run GoogleServe without them. Our partnership was even written about as a case study for Harvard Business School.

What have been your favorite projects over the years?

My favorite projects tap into Googler expertise, align with our company values—like supporting women in tech—and have a lasting impact. U.S. Googlers have volunteered with schools and nonprofits to host Made with Code events, inspiring thousands of girls to consider careers in computer science. In two days of coding, 10 Googlers helped the OpenAustralia Foundation give two million people access to Planning Alerts, which notify residents about local construction and demolition projects. And a team of Googlers in our Seattle office helped launch a mobile app to enable RealChange homeless newspaper vendors to accept digital payments.

How has GoogleServe impacted Googlers?

I’ve found that many Googlers start out with one GoogleServe project and then discover a deeper passion for serving the community. Rebecca Howarth, who helps lead GoogleServe in the Bay Area, told me it’s the single most important part of her career at Google—and it’s not even her “real job.”

For some Googlers, the impact has been so great that they’ve committed their careers to community service. In 2012 Megan Wheeler joined our team as a 20 percenter (Googlers can dedicate 20 percent of their time, outside of their day job, on projects that they’re passionate about), and now she runs the program globally as part of her full time role on the Google.org team.

And it inspires others to continue to serve beyond Google. Former Googler Tory Faries participated in a GoogleServe project in 2010, helping to paint a youth homeless shelter in San Francisco. She was so inspired that she became a weekly volunteer at the shelter. Years later, she has helped to build and lead the global volunteer program at Airbnb.

How has GoogleServe influenced Google’s culture?

When Stacy sent out her email 10 years ago, I believed that a commitment to community service would keep our culture strong no matter how big the company became, and I still believe that today. GoogleServe connects Googlers to causes and community organizations they care about, but it also connects them to other Googlers they wouldn’t have met otherwise. Those bonds are the reason people continue to volunteer with us, and why GoogleServe has become such a big part of our company culture.

Why have you dedicated your career to service?

Community service has always been a part of my life. My wife and I met doing community service and we even incorporated it into our wedding! Before the ceremony, our guests planted seeds on an organic farm that grows food for low-income families. And my kids are a part of GoogleServe too—my daughter Kaia was born just before the first GoogleServe and she and my younger son Jahan have attended a GoogleServe project every year.

So while I’ve always had a passion for service, being a part of the GoogleServe founding team and Google.org honed my life’s mission: to serve and help others serve, to build a better, more compassionate, inclusive, peaceful and just world. I feel incredibly fortunate to work on this every day at Google with an amazing team of passionate colleagues.

What’s your advice for people outside of Google who are interested in starting a volunteering program at their company?

Launch and iterate. Don’t wait for all the details—just get your idea out there and invite others to join in. Volunteering is good for company culture, good for our communities, and good for the world. There’s a growing movement of social intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs working to create positive social change, and there are many case studies and guides that can help anyone create change in their local community.

Standing with refugees and nonprofits that serve them on World Refugee Day

The Syrian civil war has created the biggest humanitarian crisis in our lifetime. More than 5 million people have been forced to leave behind family, possessions, school and work—basically their entire lives. But Syrians aren’t alone in fleeing violence and persecution. Global displacement is at an all-time high, and refugees from Somalia, Afghanistan, and other countries affected by conflict and violence are seeking sanctuary throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa, Europe and other parts of the world.

Since September 2015, we’ve been working with humanitarian organizations to respond to the refugee crisis. These organizations are experts in the field, and have told us where Google can fill a gap—with funding, technology or expertise. We’ve donated more than $20 million in Google.org grants to nonprofits, providing more than 800,000 refugees access to the internet, vital information and educational resources. On World Refugee Day, we want to share an update on a few of our ongoing initiatives.

From the start, our nonprofit grantees told us that connectivity and information are essential forms of aid. One of our early efforts was to help refugees and first responders in Greece get internet access. We provided a grant and a dozen Googler volunteers to NetHope, which has enabled them to install free Wi-Fi in 76 refugee camps. As a result, hundreds of thousands of refugees have been able to communicate with their loved ones through text and voice messages.

NetHope: Providing Internet access to refugees

NetHope: Providing Internet access to refugees

We learned from the International Rescue Committee that clear and timely information is critical in a time of crisis. To help nonprofits quickly disseminate trustworthy information, we helped build Refugee.Info with IRC and Mercy Corps. Featuring information about the asylum process, translation tools and maps, the platform has become a vital resource for refugees in Greece and the Balkans. With the assistance of a new $1 million Google.org grant and technical volunteers from Google, IRC is now expanding the app to serve refugees in the Middle East.

Refugee.Info Hub: Providing vital information to refugees

Refugee.Info Hub: Providing vital information to refugees

The refugee journey is not only dangerous, but also long and frustrating; it interrupts careers, educations and dreams indefinitely. So a big focus of our support is on nonprofits that provide refugees access to educational resources while they’re in camps and once they’ve been resettled. We awarded a grant of $3 million grant to Queen Rania Foundation to help develop an online platform that provides access to educational resources for Arabic-speaking students and teachers across the Middle East and North Africa. And in Germany, libraries and nonprofits like AsylPlus are using Chromebooks from Project Reconnect to offer language learning and job-placement programs to more than 150,000 refugees to help them integrate into their new communities.  

In addition to directly serving refugees, our work with nonprofits has aimed to provide the global community with authentic and credible information about the crisis. Last month, we partnered with UNHCR to release Searching for Syria, a website with the goal of helping people everywhere better understand the Syrian refugee crisis through Google Trends data, personal stories and the rich information from the the UNHCR. We're also shedding light on refugees' experiences, like Maher’s, who came to the U.S. from Iraq. And today, IRC and YouTube are sharing real refugees’ stories captured by some of our top creators around the world. 

The effects of the refugee crisis will be felt for years, and no single organization can solve it on its own—it requires a team effort. Nonprofits providing support and creating opportunities for communities affected by crises need our help now more than ever, and we’ll continue to support these heroes to help them make an even bigger impact.

Standing with refugees and nonprofits that serve them on World Refugee Day

The Syrian civil war has created the biggest humanitarian crisis in our lifetime. More than 5 million people have been forced to leave behind family, possessions, school and work—basically their entire lives. But Syrians aren’t alone in fleeing violence and persecution. Global displacement is at an all-time high, and refugees from Somalia, Afghanistan, and other countries affected by conflict and violence are seeking sanctuary throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa, Europe and other parts of the world.

Since September 2015, we’ve been working with humanitarian organizations to respond to the refugee crisis. These organizations are experts in the field, and have told us where Google can fill a gap—with funding, technology or expertise. We’ve donated more than $20 million in Google.org grants to nonprofits, providing more than 800,000 refugees access to the internet, vital information and educational resources. On World Refugee Day, we want to share an update on a few of our ongoing initiatives.

From the start, our nonprofit grantees told us that connectivity and information are essential forms of aid. One of our early efforts was to help refugees and first responders in Greece get internet access. We provided a grant and a dozen Googler volunteers to NetHope, which has enabled them to install free Wi-Fi in 76 refugee camps. As a result, hundreds of thousands of refugees have been able to communicate with their loved ones through text and voice messages.

NetHope: Providing Internet access to refugees

NetHope: Providing Internet access to refugees

We learned from the International Rescue Committee that clear and timely information is critical in a time of crisis. To help nonprofits quickly disseminate trustworthy information, we helped build Refugee.Info with IRC and Mercy Corps. Featuring information about the asylum process, translation tools and maps, the platform has become a vital resource for refugees in Greece and the Balkans. With the assistance of a new $1 million Google.org grant and technical volunteers from Google, IRC is now expanding the app to serve refugees in the Middle East.

Refugee.Info Hub: Providing vital information to refugees

Refugee.Info Hub: Providing vital information to refugees

The refugee journey is not only dangerous, but also long and frustrating; it interrupts careers, educations and dreams indefinitely. So a big focus of our support is on nonprofits that provide refugees access to educational resources while they’re in camps and once they’ve been resettled. We awarded a grant of $3 million grant to Queen Rania Foundation to help develop an online platform that provides access to educational resources for Arabic-speaking students and teachers across the Middle East and North Africa. And in Germany, libraries and nonprofits like AsylPlus are using Chromebooks from Project Reconnect to offer language learning and job-placement programs to more than 150,000 refugees to help them integrate into their new communities.  

In addition to directly serving refugees, our work with nonprofits has aimed to provide the global community with authentic and credible information about the crisis. Last month, we partnered with UNHCR to release Searching for Syria, a website with the goal of helping people everywhere better understand the Syrian refugee crisis through Google Trends data, personal stories and the rich information from the the UNHCR. We're also shedding light on refugees' experiences, like Maher’s, who came to the U.S. from Iraq. And today, IRC and YouTube are sharing real refugees’ stories captured by some of our top creators around the world. 

The effects of the refugee crisis will be felt for years, and no single organization can solve it on its own—it requires a team effort. Nonprofits providing support and creating opportunities for communities affected by crises need our help now more than ever, and we’ll continue to support these heroes to help them make an even bigger impact.

Remembering Stonewall, 1969

The park is not a big one. It’s a few thousand square-foot triangle in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, populated by a handful of trees and benches. Looking at it, you wouldn’t know that one night in June 1969, it hosted a crucial turning point in LGBTQ history. Across the street at the Stonewall Inn, a neighborhood gay bar, police broke down the door intending to haul the patrons off for a night in jail. Bar-goers resisted and a riot broke out in the park—it lasted several days and sparked what many recognize as the start of the modern day LGBTQ rights movement.

Google was founded on the idea that bringing more information to more people improves lives on a vast scale. The preservation of history is an essential way to make sure information lives on and reaches everyone. The Stonewall Riots were important to the ongoing road to civil rights for LGBT communities around the world — and their message is as resonant and necessary today as it was back then. To help preserve and amplify the story of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, Google.org is giving a $1 million grant to the LGBT Community Center of New York City.

The Center, in collaboration with the National Park Foundation, will use this grant to continue its work with the National Park Service, extending the reach of Stonewall National Monument beyond its physical location. Ahead of 2019, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the uprising, the Center will record the stories of those who raised their voices at Stonewall and the many others who were inspired by their brave defiance. These are the stories of transgender women of color who fought back; of queer youth, many of whom were homeless, who bravely refused to be silenced; of the poorest of the LGBTQ community. Those stories will be built into a digital memorial experience available to anyone who visits the park—both in person and online. The funding will also support the building of a curriculum on LGBTQ civil rights to be used in classrooms nationwide.

Google.org has provided grants and funding to groups across the world that challenge bias and exclusion by helping to share the stories and history of marginalized groups, from the Equal Justice Initiative to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. We are glad to continue that work today with the support of organizations like the LGBT Center, who provide so much to their community.

Remembering the people who spoke out against injustice, who fought for the basic right to "be," is key to our universal quest for human rights. By remembering those who came before us, and all we have accomplished since, we ensure that their actions were not in vain. We hope that sharing these stories will help to empower and inspire us all to action.

Remembering Stonewall, 1969

The park is not a big one. It’s a few thousand square-foot triangle in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, populated by a handful of trees and benches. Looking at it, you wouldn’t know that one night in June 1969, it hosted a crucial turning point in LGBTQ history. Across the street at the Stonewall Inn, a neighborhood gay bar, police broke down the door intending to haul the patrons off for a night in jail. Bar-goers resisted and a riot broke out in the park—it lasted several days and sparked what many recognize as the start of the modern day LGBTQ rights movement.

Google was founded on the idea that bringing more information to more people improves lives on a vast scale. The preservation of history is an essential way to make sure information lives on and reaches everyone. The Stonewall Riots were important to the ongoing road to civil rights for LGBT communities around the world — and their message is as resonant and necessary today as it was back then. To help preserve and amplify the story of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, Google.org is giving a $1 million grant to the LGBT Community Center of New York City.

The Center will use this grant to continue its work with the National Park Service, extending the reach of Stonewall National Monument beyond its physical location. Ahead of 2019, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the uprising, the Center will record the stories of those who raised their voices at Stonewall and the many others who were inspired by their brave defiance. These are the stories of transgender women of color who fought back; of queer youth, many of whom were homeless, who bravely refused to be silenced; of the poorest of the LGBTQ community. Those stories will be built into a digital memorial experience available to anyone who visits the park—both in person and online. The funding will also support the building of a curriculum on LGBTQ civil rights to be used in classrooms nationwide.

Google.org has provided grants and funding to groups across the world that challenge bias and exclusion by helping to share the stories and history of marginalized groups, from the Equal Justice Initiative to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. We are glad to continue that work today with the support of organizations like the LGBT Center, who provide so much to their community.

Remembering the people who spoke out against injustice, who fought for the basic right to "be," is key to our universal quest for human rights. By remembering those who came before us, and all we have accomplished since, we ensure that their actions were not in vain. We hope that sharing these stories will help to empower and inspire us all to action.

Using data to change the conversation about race in America

Note: This post references sensitive subject matter pertaining to lynching in America. 

Growing up, Shirah Dedman always hated family tree projects. While other students could trace their roots as far back as the Mayflower, her story always stopped at her great-grandfather. At the age of 32, with the help of researchers at the Equal Justice Initiative, a Google.org grantee, Shirah learned the true story of her great-grandfather’s life—and death. Thomas Miles Sr., a black business owner, was lynched in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1912 for allegedly passing a note to a white woman. Fearing for their own lives, his family fled the South, and even changed the spelling of their last name—from Miles to Myles—to distance themselves from the tragedy. It would be decades before his story would come to light and his family could begin to make sense of their traumatic past.

These stories are a difficult part of American history. Thomas Miles Sr. was one of more than 4,000 African Americans lynched in the U.S. between 1877 and 1950. Recently, the Dedman/Myles family returned to the South 100 years after Thomas Miles Sr. was lynched there.

Today the Equal Justice Initiative, with support from Google, is shedding new light on this chapter in American history with Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, an interactive experience that brings their groundbreaking research on this racial violence—and the personal stories behind it—online.

The Equal Justice Initiative is a nonprofit challenging racial injustice both in and out of the courtroom. The organization’s founder, Bryan Stevenson, believes that we cannot truly move forward as a nation until we confront this dark chapter from our past. Google is committed to making information universally accessible, so that everyone has the knowledge to better understand—and contribute to—a more just world. Together we share a commitment to creating a more inclusive society and leveraging data to fight inequities, which is why Google.org is proud to further increase our support for EJI, which began in 2016

Based on EJI’s original publication of the same name, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror reveals both the scope of lynchings of African Americans between 1877 and 1950 and the profound way in which this era continues to shape our nation, particularly in our criminal justice system. Racial disparities continue to burden people of color; the criminal justice system is infected with racial bias; and a presumption of dangerousness and guilt has led to mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and police violence against people of color. If current trends continue, one of every three black boys born in America today will be imprisoned.

The Lynching in America site brings together EJI’s in-depth research and data with the stories of lynching victims, as told by their descendants. Through six audio stories, and a short documentary, Uprooted, you both hear and feel the impact of this dark time in history on generations of families. You can also explore an interactive map that includes incidents of racial terror lynchings, as well as in-depth profiles of the stories behind these acts of violence.
Lynching in America - Map
An interactive map, featuring EJI’s groundbreaking data on lynchings, exposes the devastating scope of this era.

In addition to helping bring this essential history online, Google.org is also donating another $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative to support their national memorial to lynching victims in Montgomery, Alabama. Opening in 2018, the memorial makes this history an undeniable part of the physical landscape, ushering the past into the present day. 

Lynching in America is meant to motivate a conversation. We hope that you'll not only visit this site but share its stories with others, and—as simple as it sounds—talk about it. As Bryan Stevenson says, “I don't think we can create a generation of people in this country who are truly free, who are unburdened by this legacy and this history of racial terror, until we do the hard work of truth-telling.” In bringing EJI’s work to a wider audience, we hope to give all of us an opportunity to address our past and be part of the work of building a more just and equitable future.