Google workers across the country kicked off the week by walking off the job to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, which temporarily bans citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
Photos showed hundreds of Googlers rallying outside several company offices Monday, including its global headquarters in Mountain View, California. CEO Sundar Pichai and co-founder Sergey Brin joined their employees and delivered an emotional series of speeches to the crowd.
Participants chanted, “You build a wall, we’ll tear it down!” and “No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here!” while waving handmade signs featuring messages such as, “Build Bridges, Not Walls” and “Refugees Welcome.”
“So many people were obviously outraged by this order, as am I myself, being an immigrant and a refugee,” Brin told the crowd of employees Monday. “I wouldn’t be where I am today or have any kind of the life that I have today if this was not a brave country that really stood out and spoke for liberty.”
“I hope this energy carries forward in many different ways, beyond what just our company can do, beyond just what companies can do, but as really a powerful force and really a powerful moment,” he said.
The keynote address was given by Soufi Esmaeilzadeh, a Google product manager who is Iranian-Canadian, reports Business Insider.
Esmaeilzadeh was reportedly on a plane from San Francisco to Zurich when Trump announced the executive order Friday. She immediately returned to San Francisco after a federal judge ruled to temporarily block certain parts of the travel ban.
“Three weeks ago, I was in Iran visiting my 89-year-old grandma, and when I came back to the U.S., they said, ‘Welcome home,’” Esmaeilzadeh said at the rally. “I spent this weekend in secondary detention watching four officers pore over all my documents.”
Googlers tagged their photos and videos with #GooglersUnite on Twitter:
The demonstration follows Pichai’s internal memo to employees on Saturday, announcing the creation of a $4 million “crisis fund” to help those affected by the executive order.
Google pledges to donate $2 million to the fund with the option for employees to match up to another $2 million in donations. The fund is Google’s largest crisis campaign and will benefit four organizations: the American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and the United Nations refugee agency.
Google said in a statement to USA Today on Sunday:
We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S. We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere.
Watch Brin’s full address below:
Check out more of the photos and videos under #GooglersUnite on Twitter: