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Anti-ICE protesters descend on Salesforce Tower in San Francisco

Anti-ICE protesters descend on Salesforce Tower in San Francisco
[Photo: Sean Captain]

First Google, then Microsoft, and now Salesforce.

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Tech workers and other activists are targeting the cloud service provider (with projected 2019 revenue of $13.125 billion) for its ties to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and thus to the detention of immigrants and separation of families by ICE. About 40 demonstrators gathered today in the (literally chilly) shadow of the new 61-story Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. Tech workers, local politicians, and members of the Latino community chanted and delivered speeches calling out what they consider the company’s hypocrisy.

“You cannot throw pennies in the bucket to make it seem like you are doing good work, because you’re not doing enough,” Kevin Ortiz of the Latino Democratic Club told the crowd. A tech worker, he declined to name his company for concern about retaliation. Those “pennies” are the $1 million that Salesforce has donated to aid families caught in the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance border policy.

“I always welcome donations to groups that are doing good work, and a million dollars is helpful,” said Stephanie Parker, a spokesperson for the Tech Workers Coalition, an employee activist group. “But sources tell me that it’s only a drop in the bucket compared to the money changing hands between CBP and Salesforce.”

Salesforce told Fast Company that it does not share the monetary value of customer contracts.

Salesforce is a powerful target: The company and its inextricably linked CEO and cofounder, Marc Benioff, have a reputation as being politically progressive and philanthropic. (Fast Company has recognized Salesforce multiple times in its Most Innovative Companies roster.) Salesforce is a leader of the Pledge 1% movement of companies contributing 1% of profit, valuation, or other assets to social good. Benniof and his wife, Lynne, contributed $100 million to what became the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. The company is recognized for successfully fighting an Indiana law considered anti-LGBT.

Protestors acknowledged those contributions, but demanded that Salesforce do more. “Why is it that Salesforce would take a stand against anti-LGBT policies in Indiana,” said Ortiz,” but they will not take a stand for communities of color and the Latino community?

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