George Washington University/YouTube

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered a speech to George Washington University graduates last Sunday encouraging them to fight injustice.

“The world needs you in the arena. There are problems that need to solved, injustices that need to be ended,” Cook told students.

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The irony is that there were six black students actually engaging in activism while Cook was delivered his speech on activism.

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers his commencement speech at George Washington University on Sunday. Holding the emoji fists are students, from right to left: Tyrique Wilson, Bryan Barfield, Ishmael dozier, Malcolm McNeil, Tremell Horne, and Kyle Umemba
George Washington University/YouTube

The six students raised giant posters with emoji fists, each printed in a shade corresponding with the color of their skin, to call attention to the young black men who were killed by police in Ferguson and Baltimore.

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"We wanted to pay our respect to those victims in our past year. It's been difficult to watch,” Malcolm McNeil, one of the students who participated in the demonstration told Fusion.

Image courtesy of Malcolm McNeil

“Being so close to the Baltimore riots was even more difficult,” McNeil said during the telephone interview. George Washington University is about an hour away from Baltimore.

George Washington University graduating senior Tremell Horne. (Image courtesy of Malcolm McNeil)

McNeil, 21, said he and his friends had been talking about something to do at their graduation that would be meaningful and memorable. When they learned Cook would deliver the commencement speech, he said, the emoji fist idea synchronized perfectly.

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"This [demonstration] was a modern day spawn of the 1968 Olympics when Tommie Smith raised his fists,” said McNeil, who graduated with a degree in criminal justice.

“We wanted to make this a memorable demonstration and it was our duty to do something for peace justice and equality,” McNeil said.