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Niantic Takes Action on Social Change

Niantic has publicly shared their internal memo describing what they will be doing to help affect social reform in the world specifically with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

We found it incredibly important to amplify this message to help spread the word throughout our community and more.

DONATIONS

Pokémon GO 2020 Proceeds

Niantic has announced that a minimum of 5 million dollars in proceeds from Pokémon GO Fest 2020 will be donated to non-profits and black gaming and AR creators.

  • Half of the proceeds donated will be used to fund new projects from Black gaming and AR creators that can live on the Niantic platform, with the ultimate goal of increasing content that represents a more diverse view on the world.
  • The other half will go to US nonprofit organizations that are helping local communities rebuild.

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MARSHA P. JOHNSON INSTITUTE

Niantic will be donating $100,000 to the Marsha P. Johnson Insititute and doing an employee match of up to $50,000.

  • Black trans people continue to be killed at higher rates than Black cis people and non-Black LGBTQ+ people.
  • In honor of the Black Lives Matter movement and Pride Month, the Diversity and Inclusion team and the executive leadership team believe this donation is the right thing to do to support those who are most vulnerable to police brutality and other systems of oppression.
  • We’re also asking ourselves how we can take responsibility to better support our current and future Black and underrepresented minority employees as well as galvanize our non-Black employees to do their part in combating systematic racism and social injustice in both our industry and the community at large.

Learn more about the Marsha P. Johnson Institute by visiting their website here.

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Diversity & Inclusion Training

Niantic will be developing new Diversity and Inclusion training with a specific focus on allyship training. 

  • It is not the responsibility of the Black community or our Black employees to carry the burden of education.
  • It is up to non-Black allies to educate ourselves and each other.
  • Diversity and Inclusion training can help provide tools and resources to make us all better allies.
  • More details to come.

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Treehouse

Treehouse is an organization dedicated to diversifying tech by making education more accessible. Niantic will be bringing in five UX/Designers and five QA analysts for apprenticeships, and they will hire 80-100% after apprenticeships.

Our mission is to diversify the tech industry through accessible education and apprenticeship, unlocking the door to opportunity and empowering people to achieve their dreams.

To learn more about Team Treehouse, visit their website here.

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GAMEHEADS PARTNERSHIP

Niantic will be expanding upon their partnership with Gameheads, a nonprofit that teaches kids how to develop games from beginning to end. This year, they are going fully virtual and taking the program global.

  • Niantic will be providing $25,000 in scholarships.
  • $15,000 sponsorship of their annual showcase.
  • $20,000 donation to create new “Developing for AR 101” program where students can earn college accreditation in partnership with Cal State.

Mission
We are a tech training program that uses video game design, development and DevOps to create diverse talent and bold new voices, train youth of color for the tech eco-system and prepare them for college, career and civic life.

To learn more about Gameheads and how you can become involved or a mentor in the Oakland area, visit their website here.

REBUILDING THE COMMUNITY

Niantic employees currently receive 4 days per year to attend Niantic game events. This will be changed. Niantic will be turning this benefit into Flex Days and adding a day, so Niantic employees will now have 5 Flex Days a year to attend a Niantic event or volunteer.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Niantic is formalizing their Diversity and Inclusion council, they will use this group along with dedicated involvement from senior leadership to ensure accountability.

PUBLIC STANCE

Niantic will be taking a public stance in support of the Black community and reject white supremacy, racism, and police brutality.

With the help of their new Diversity and Inclusion council, Niantic would like to share some resources that can be used as a starting point in helping out.

  • Educate yourself on the Black Lives Matter movement – We must educate ourselves and each other in order to support the movement as best as we can.
  • Apply to be a Gameheads mentor – Niantics (Niantic Staff) will be encouraged to volunteer and mentor the next generation of technology leaders.
  • Volunteer – Niantics (Niantic Staff) will be organizing and contributing to the movement internally.

The heart of Niantic is our community of players. It is imperative that we stand up to support our Black Trainers, Agents, and Wizards. We aim to be a force of change committed to the long road ahead of rebuilding a more just and fair system where historical racial divides are overcome and where all are welcomed, values, and have a fair chance at success. The first is overcoming the racism and injustice that prevents members of our community from safely enjoying the freedom and pleasure of a simple walk or run outdoors. Black Lives Matter.

-John Hanke

Other Great Reads 

Niantic’s Social Impact 2019

Help us continue to provide quality content and promote creators on Patreon!

Pac

Co-Admin/Writer/Builder of All Things/G.O.A.T. for Gaming2gether Media

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