Tim Cook visited his home state of Alabama this week, and paid homage to American Baptist minister and activist Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.
Cook also met with a group of Birmingham, AL high school and college students, and talked about the importance of the civil rights struggle, the need to learn coding, and answered questions about his own career.
“[Dr. King’s] teachings are timeless,” Cook told students at an event hosted by the Birmingham Metro Southern Christian Leadership Conference at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church. “If you listen to him today, you feel like he is speaking about today.”
It’s an honor to be in Birmingham celebrating Dr. King’s life today. “Let us all hope that…in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.” pic.twitter.com/GN6T54hSqx
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 4, 2018
Cook has often spoken about the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. In his office he keeps a photo of King, along with one of Senator Robert Kennedy.
Speaking with the Birmingham students, Cook said that while, “I don’t think any of us in this room are happy with where we are today … we can celebrate how far we have come. I don’t believe we would be here without [King].”
Shape your world
He called on young people to play an active role in shaping their world. “It is a special time in your life,” Cook said. “This is a period of time where you can change the status quo. Now is the time to do it. The world needs you more than ever to not be silent.”
Recalling similar comments his predecessor Steve Jobs once said, Cook continued that 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.'”
Answering a question about how to become a future Apple CEO, Cook responded that it comes down to hard work. He also talked about his love of his alma mater Auburn University, his thoughts on Auburn football, and why it is important that kids today learn to code.
“My own view is that everyone who is in school should have multiple years of coding before they graduate,” he said. “I think it is important that kids graduating understand the possibility of software.”