Why Azavea spoke up on immigration - Technical.ly Philly


May 26, 2017 12:55 pm

Why Azavea spoke up on immigration

CEO Robert Cheetham penned a blog post explaining the company's decision to join three amicus briefs related to executive orders from the Trump administration.

Azavea CEO Robert Cheetham.

(GIF via YouTube)

Over the past three months, as a lengthy legal squabble over Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban has taken place in courts across the country, a group of 100+ tech companies have signed a series of amicus briefs against the policy.

And alongside names like Lyft, Pinterest and Airbnb was Spring Garden-based mapping firm Azavea. CEO Robert Cheetham penned a blog post this week explaining why a nonpartisan company like Azavea took a stand on the issue.

“I believe the travel and refugee ban threaten basic principles of democracy citizenship, equality before the law, and a just and open society,” Cheetham said in the article. “The halt to the refugee program violates basic principles of kindness, consideration, and hospitality for our fellow humans.”

Cheetham made it clear that Azavea, a certified B Corporation with a civic and social impact mission, retains its nonpartisan stance. However, due to the challenges the measure poses from both a business and ethical standpoint, it was appropriate to speak up.

“These executive orders undermine that legacy and threaten the future health of our democracy, the prosperity of the country, and our basic humanity,” Cheetham said.

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Other Philly companies have also taken a public stance against the measure. SAP CEO Bill McDermott sent a memo to staffers saying the company rejected “any attempt to discriminate on any basis.” The University of Pennsylvania joined a separate amicus brief alongside other Ivy League institutions, weeks after President Amy Gutmann railed against the measure in a letter to the community.


Comcast employees, including former CTO Sree Kotay, organized against the measure through a Slack channel and staged a symbolic walkout. Over 800 employees poured out of the company’s Center City HQ and staged a rally in Dilworth Park. Three months later, Kotay left the company due to “personal reasons.”



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