In Equal Rights Speech, Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks About Witnessing A Cross Burning When He Was A Child

Apple CEO Tim Cook received a lifetime achievement award from his alma mater Auburn University last week. At a speech at the United Nations in New York accepting the award, Cook spoke at length about how he has come to advocate equal rights for all people.

The most jarring story was when Cook said he witnessed a cross burning while growing up in Alabama. That moment stuck with him and made him decide all people should be treated equally.

“Not far from where I lived, I remember very vividly witnessing a cross burning at such a remarkable family. This image was permanently imprinted in my brain, and it would change my life forever,” Cook said. “For me the cross burning was a symbol of ignorance, of hatred, and a fear of anyone different than the majority. I could never understand it, and I knew then that America’s an Alabama’s history would always be scarred by the hatred that it represented.”

Recently, Tim Cook penned an open letter in The Wall Street Journal encouraging Congress to pass a law that would provide equal rights to gay and lesbian employees.

Here’s a video of the speech, which we first spotted on AllThingsD. The portion about the cross burning starts around 2:15, but you should really watch the whole thing.

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