In light of global protests over George Floyd's death and the daily disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic, Cisco announced it has postponed its annual Cisco Live event to later this month.
The event was originally scheduled to run today and Wednesday – which would have marked the first fully virtual Cisco Live US.
"We've made the decision to postpone Cisco Live. This was a difficult decision to come by … but in light of recent events, the turmoil happening across the United States, and with some of your feedback, we feel this is the right thing to do," said Cisco chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins in a video statement.
In the US and globally, many are dealing with "pain, frustration and anger and many of us need time for space and healing," he added. "We want to give you space this week to do what you need to in your own organizations and communities."
On May 30, Robbins foreshadowed the event's cancellation with a tweet about his concerns over persistent racism in the US: "It's far overdue for all of us to take action to eradicate systemic racism, xenophobia, inequality & all forms of bigotry in America. How we respond will be an important moment in our nation's history. @Cisco will lead. #blacklivesmatter."
What’s happening in the US is abhorrent. It’s far overdue for all of us to take action to eradicate systemic racism, xenophobia, inequality & all forms of bigotry in America. How we respond will be an important moment in our nation’s history. @Cisco will lead. #blacklivesmatter— Chuck Robbins (@ChuckRobbins) May 30, 2020
Robbins said Cisco will donate $5 million to the Equal Justice Initiative, the Legal Defense Fund, ColorOfChange, Black Lives Matter and Cisco's own fund for Fighting Racism and Discrimination. "This is just the beginning" in Cisco's efforts to take action to "eradicate racism, inequality and injustice," said Robbins in a tweet yesterday.
"At Cisco, we have always aspired to foster an environment of dignity, respect, fairness and equality for all," said a spokesperson for Cisco in an email to Light Reading. "In light of what is going on in the world at this time, we have made the decision to postpone Cisco Live scheduled for June 2-3. We encourage others to use this moment to reflect and make progress towards a better, more inclusive world. We plan to resume our event later this month."
Cisco will announce the new dates for Cisco Live within the next few days, added the spokesperson. They did not comment on expectations for attendance.
— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading