Times staff report
Photos by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was in Birmingham on Wednesday, marking both the 50th anniversary of the murder of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and the rollout of Apple’s Swift programming curriculum across all Alabama Community College (ACCS) branches. He was also in town to receive the Human Rights Award from the Birmingham Metro Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
The SCLC hosted an awards banquet and celebration at the Sheraton Grand Ballroom celebration, entitled “A Golden Halo Commemoration Fit For A King,” and honored the slain civil rights leader’s legacy by recognizing individuals who have continued doing his work.
2018 Award Recipients included Cook; Woke Vote Founder, DeJuana Thompson; Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama President, Isabel Rubio; and Birmingham Business Resource Center President, Robert Dickerson.
Cook also attended a symposium hosted by the SCLC at Birmingham’s Sixth Avenue Baptist Church. The symposium, “Economic Justice and Transformative Innovation: Acknowledging the Past While Advancing the Future” hosted 250 high school students from the Jefferson County area.
Students learned how they can develop STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math) skills, and be inspired by leaders discussing the topics of economic justice and transformative innovation.
Cook is an avid follower of Dr. King’s teachings, often quoting the civil rights leader in tweets and interviews.
“It’s an honor to be in Birmingham celebrating Dr. King’s life today,” Cook wrote on Twitter, adding an abbreviated quote from a letter by King while he was in Birmingham Jail in 1963.
Touching on student activism related to the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, Cook praised recent efforts, saying young people are “not stuck with old dogmas. They are not fighting these ancient fights. They don’t accept ‘it’s never been done before.’ They don’t accept ‘it can’t be done.’ They don’t accept it ‘don’t work life that.'”
Cook also visited Lawson State Community College during his time in Birmingham. In another Twitter post, Cook can be seen watching students as they worked on iMacs.
The CEO from Mobile, Ala. is a graduate of Auburn University. He’s also a well-known backer of socially liberal causes such as LGBT rights and workplace diversity.
Roger Fingas of appleinsider.com contributed to this report