Niantic’s Black Lives Matter statement


We are witnessing an unprecedented movement that opposes the systemic racism that limits opportunity and oppresses billions of people around the world. Like many of you, I have struggled with finding the right words, emotions, and actions to deal with the unease and unrest we’re seeing as a result of the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and countless other Black people. As I said on Friday, the occasion demands that we rise up as an organization and marshall the power and resources that we have to be part of the solution. As a society, we can do better than we have in the past. As the past few days have made clear, we must do better.

The leadership team and I are aligned to do what we can to make the company a force for good in the world. At the same time, we want Niantic to be a source of stability and support in these troubled times. We face this heightened challenge on top of the physical and mental strain of our battle against COVID-19. We know that for many of you this has made an already stressful situation significantly worse. We want you to know that Niantic is here for you. So please reach out—to a colleague, HR manager, the leadership team—if you need support. If you’re in a position where you feel like you can’t stay in your place of residence, talk to your HRBP so we can help. The work in front of us to overcome these challenges is vast. The road is long. We want to help you take care of yourself so that you can be a force for good in the world.

So what can Niantic do? How can we use our platform to effect sustainable, long-term change? We already strive to make the world better by encouraging our players to explore the world around them and connect with their local community through physical interaction, to build a strong body and mind through exercise, and to build positive connections with fellow human beings through real-world social interaction. We think the next area where we can make a powerful, scalable impact is through the culture, ideas, and role models we help to create. To achieve that, we are going to fund projects from Black creators and will bring the best of those creations to a mass audience where they can shine a light on characters, story, and points of view that validate the lives and experiences of the Black community.

We’ll be donating Niantic proceeds from Pokémon GO Fest 2020 ticket sales, committing a minimum of $5 million. 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.

We’ll be donating $100,000 to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute 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 of 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 systemic racism and social injustice in both our industry and the community at large.

We’re developing new Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) training with a specific focus on allyship training. I cannot stress this point enough: it is not the responsibility of the Black community or our Black employees now to carry the burden of education. It is up to non-Black allies to educate ourselves and each other. We hope this diversity and inclusion training can help provide the tools and resources to make us all better allies. More details to come.

We’re upping our commitment to Treehouse, an organization dedicated to diversifying tech by making education more accessible. We are now committed to bringing on five UX/Designers and five QA analysts for apprenticeships, and hire 80-100% after apprenticeships.

We’re expanding our 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. We’ll be providing $25,000 in scholarships, sponsoring their annual showcase with $15,000, and donating $20,000 to create a new “Developing for AR 101” program where students can earn college accreditation in partnership with Cal State.

We know many Niantics are eager to get involved in rebuilding their community. Today we give employees four days per year to attend Niantic game events. We’re turning this benefit into Flex Days and adding a day, so you’ll have five Flex Days a year to attend a Niantic event or volunteer.

We will actively work to ensure accountability to all these commitments. We are formalizing our D&I council, and will use this group along with dedicated involvement from senior leadership to ensure accountability.

Lastly, we will take a public stance in support of the Black community and reject white supremacy, racism, and police brutality.

We also know that many of our employees are eager to be involved in helping, but aren’t sure where to start. With the help of the newly formed Diversity and Inclusion council, I’d like to share some resources that you can use as a starting point.

Educate yourself on the Black Lives Matter movement. We must educate ourselves and each other in order to support the movement as best we can.

Apply to be a Gameheads mentor. We need Niantics to volunteer and mentor the next generation of technology leaders.

Volunteer and join your fellow Niantics in organizing and contributing to the movement internally by filling out our form. The Diversity and Inclusion council will share opportunities for how you can get involved.

We are committed to this cause. These initiatives don’t end with an announcement. The work to follow through will require years of effort to yield the impact we seek. Along the way, we’ll be looking for even more opportunities to deepen these initiatives.

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, valued, and have a fair chance at success. The first step 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

They’re donating lots of money, they’re supporting black trans people (this in particular made me almost want to cry in relief), they’re working from the inside out, they’re focusing on mental health…

I threw my heart into Pokemon as an 11-year-old, I looked up to it as a mentor and a teacher, and it fufilled its responsibilites better than some of the adults in my life did.


I note that today Reddit has changed its little logo, presumably in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

They also released this:

-which is here

-and it just rings so hollow. Why? Because Trump fan club the_donald, among other forums, are hosted on Reddit! And Reddit shows no sign of wanting to get rid of them. Even forums which I gather are meant to be “non-political” can end up full of hate speech, and oh sure you can vote them down, but…

… Well, the responsibility to get rid of this stuff lies with Reddit. And they’re not doing that at all. So until they do things like changing the logo are just pure nonsense.

Halsey among protestors shot at and gassed by police as she shares horrific account from frontline of Black Lives Matter demonstration — Quiz Category

Police officers “gassed” and “fired” at bisexual singer Halsey last weekend (May 30 and 31) as she joined protesters in Los Angeles, California, to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Thousands of demonstrators thronged the roads of the city to protest against white supremacy and police brutality after the death of George…

Halsey among protestors shot at and gassed by police as she shares horrific account from frontline of Black Lives Matter demonstration — Quiz Category

Halsey actually is half black, which I don’t think this article mentions. So those words are very powerful. As is that photograph there.

How to Help

Passing along these important links and posts.

By Hook Or By Book:

Hi everyone. If you’re like me and are feeling sad, frustrated, and helpless over the continuing systemic racism in America, here are some ways to become proactive.

Some organizations to which you can donate if you are heartsick waking up to the news:

Minnesota Freedom Fund:

Minnesota ACLU:

George Floyd’s family gofundme:


— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) May 28, 2020


11 Terms You Should Know to Better Understand Structural Racism

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Black trans man shot dead by white cop in Florida’s third fatal police shooting in two months — Quiz Category

Tony McDade, a Black trans man, was shot and killed by what is Florida’s third fatal police shooting in two months. On Wednesday (May 27), Tony McDade was shot and killed by a white police officer in Tallahassee, north Florida. Local news, which along with the Florida Police Department initially misgendered McDade, reported that he…

Black trans man shot dead by white cop in Florida’s third fatal police shooting in two months — Quiz Category

Another incident, so close on the heels of the last one. And these are just the ones we know about.

Another day, another round of disgust at the US police

The story is every bit as horrible as you’d expect. And of course it comes directly on the heels of another similar story, the murder of Botham Jean.

I know, I don’t live in America. But based on the information I get I thoroughly believe US police should not have guns. They should have full body armour to protect them from being killed, that’s only fair, but no guns. A whole populace is living in fear of the people meant to protect them. It’s insanity.

“I’m shaken. I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault,” Mr Smith told the Star Telegram newspaper about requesting the welfare check. “If I had never dialled the police department, she’d still be alive.”

British police don’t carry guns and yet they rarely get killed on the job. It does happen sometimes but it’s rare. (Yes, I know, I know, generally British criminals don’t have guns either. But the average British police officer does face knives, physical attacks etc on a regular basis and yet they manage okay without firearms. See this, which happened two days ago.)

I’m serious: take the fucking guns away. I can offer absolutely nothing about how to best solve the racism problem, I don’t know anywhere near enough (beyond ‘for the love of god, fire any police officer who makes racist comments, fire them straight away, what is wrong with you?!’) but in the meantime remove firearms from US cops. They’ve proved constantly, over and over again, that they don’t deserve them.

This is not well written. I’m angry. That poor woman had her whole life ahead of her and now it’s gone, all because of some jumpy racist asshole.


(TDS June 19, 2017)

The Hypocrisy of The NRA on The Shooting of Philando Castile. 

In a story of a man being shot because he was lawfully
armed, you would think that one group, one powerful group in America would say
something about it.This one group that you would expect to be losing their
goddamn minds about this: the NRA. 



valerie castile, philando’s mother, on today’s not guilty verdict in minnesota.

“my son loved this city, and this city killed my son.”

Video transcript:

Valerie Castile: “I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota. My son loved this state. He had one tattoo on his body and it was of the twin cities – the state of Minnesota with TC on it. My son loved this city and this city killed my son and a murderer gets away. Are you kidding me right now? We’re not evolving as a civilization – we’re devolving. We have taken steps forward, people have died for us to have these rights, and now we’re devolving. We’re going back down to 1969. Damn! What is it going to take? I’m mad as hell right now, yes I am. My first born, one son, dead here in Minnesota. Under the circumstance just because he (the officer, Jeronimo Yanez) was a police officer that makes it okay. Oh, now they get free range. He’s found innocent on all accounts. He shot into a car with no regard to human life and that’s okay. Thank you Minnesota.”