Zoox Afro-X, our crew-led Zoox Affinity Group (ZAG), was founded to provide a community of support for personal and professional development for Zoox employees of Black and African-diasporic descent. The group partners with our executive leadership and Human Resources organization to mitigate obstacles and enhance the development and advancement of Black and African-diasporic employees and contribute to an inclusive culture at Zoox.

At Zoox, we celebrate Black History Month by recognizing the continued need to honor Black stories, voices, and futures both today and every day. We want to encourage everyone to take time to learn about, reflect on, and consider how to advocate for the Black community within their personal circle and the systemic issues impacting the Black community at-large. 

Our theme this year, ‘A Celebration of Black Excellence,’ is a tribute to the remarkable talent that exists within the Black community. It acknowledges the tireless efforts of those who have worked hard to achieve success and recognizes their achievements. The Black experience is an ongoing story of hope and determination in the face of adversity, embodied by Black heroes who became exceptional in their craft and paved the way for future generations. From iconic figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Maya Angelou to contemporary heroes like President Barack Obama and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

In February, Zoox culinary featured Cajun, Soul, Brazilian, and Haitian dishes to share African cuisine with our crew. Zoox Afro-X collaborated with Ethiopian Chef Luladey Moges on a cooking demonstration to share her stories and homemade Ethiopian cuisine she learned from different generations of women in her family. Luladey has spent years developing real-world recipes that deliver authentic flavor in an hour or less, inspired by her busy career in hospitality that was initially an obstacle to her home-cooking aspirations. Black and African cuisine can represent more than a collection of recipes and dishes; for some, it provides a medium for storytelling. Flavors, textures, and ingredients have been passed down through generations. 

Red Bay Coffee, one of the coffee vendors for our many microkitchens across the company, visited our Foster City offices in their coffee van. Red Bay Coffee is a black-owned San Francisco Bay Area Company. Red Bay seeks to create unity by hiring and serving people of all backgrounds, striving to be diverse and inclusive of those who have traditionally been left out of the specialty coffee industry, especially people of color, the formerly incarcerated, women, and people with disabilities.

Additionally, we collaborated with Partake, a Black-owned, women-led company, to offer their cookies to our crew in the Zoox micro kitchens.

Microsoft Executive VP of Business Development, Strategy, and Ventures, Chris Young, joined our CEO, Aicha Evans, for a fireside chat about how investments in minority-led start-ups and groups are paving the way for a more inclusive technological future. Along with his transparency around the latest AI initiatives at Microsoft, our crew loved the energy Chris brought to the conversation with Aicha and the openness around his personal journey of being Black in tech.

Our crew enjoyed a Pub Trivia night to test their skills and expertise, while opening up new doors to learn about a range of topics revolving around Black history from around the world. 

These are just a few of the activities that took place at Zoox across the month. A big thank you to our Zoox Afro-X community for bringing together such a thoughtful and impactful month of activities to our crew.