Lyft is giving a big boost to civil rights. On Sunday, the ridesharing company announced that it will donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union over the next four years.
The donation was made on behalf of diversity in the face of new executive orders banning foreign nationals from seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sunday — from entering the U.S. for at least three months.
“Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft's and our nation's core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community,” wrote Lyft founders John Zimmer and Logan Green in a letter.
"We stand with you, and are donating $1,000,000 over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution," the letter said.
Lyft’s philanthropy comes at a moment of controversy involving its rival ridesharing service Uber. On Saturday, members of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance — who are usually lined up and ready for passengers outside arrival gates — called for a strike at JFK International Airport and joined the protesters.
“By sanctioning bigotry with his unconstitutional and inhumane executive order banning Muslim refugees from seven countries, the president is putting professional drivers in more danger than they have been in any time since 9/11 when hate crimes against immigrants skyrocketed,” at statement from NYTW said.
However, Uber continued to operate service to and from JFK Airport with and the other airports where many travelers were being detained, becoming the primary alternative to the yellow taxis.
Uber was then criticized on social media and from celebrities promoting #deleteuber for not suspending service and standing in solidarity with the strike. They accused Uber of undermining the yellow cabs and condoning what they say are discriminatory policies from the White House.
Following the backlash, Uber released a statement saying that it had “Not meant to break strike.”
Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick posted a long note on his Facebook page pledging commitment to the diverse drivers and announcing the measures the company will take to compensate drivers and ease difficulties during Trump’s three-month ban.
“We are working out a process to identify these drivers and compensate them pro bono during the next three months to help mitigate some of the financial stress and complications with supporting their families and putting food on the table,” Kalanick’s post read.
Here is the full letter from Lyft founders Logan Green and John ZImmer:
We created Lyft to be a model for the type of community we want our world to be: diverse, inclusive and safe.
This weekend, Trump closed the country’s borders to refugees, immigrants, and even documented residents from around the world based on their country of origin. Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.
We know this directly impacts many of our community members, their families and friends. We stand with you, and are donating $1,000,000 over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution. We ask that you continue to be there for each other – and together, continue proving the power of community.
John & Logan