Where was Black Girls Code when I was younger?! Event today, black women make up less than 3% of the STEM industries and other women of color is lower, less than 1%.
Last Thursday, I attended the showing of the Black Girls Code short documentary and fundraising event. Already having taught over 1500 girls across the country, the organization wants to change those statistics above and hope to reach one million all over the world by 2040, maybe earlier, 2020.
The organization’s founder, Kimberly Bryant, an electrical engineer, created the non-profit after noticing the lack of women, specifically women of color in these fields, and recognizing that her daughter, Kai, was using the technology, but not creating it. Besides that, with computer classes costing thousands of dollars and lack of computer science in grade schools, it is difficult for younger children from lower class backgrounds to obtain that knowledge. Through summer camps, one-day.one-topic class, 6-7 week Saturday classes, mobile labs, and working with other organizations and schools, they want to open the doors of opportunity for them.
Although the documentary is only a little over 14 minutes, it is packs a lot in short time to support the film, including showcasing the precocious girls and the activities they take part it, like robotics, web page creation, trips to NASA and IBM, and techfellows (which I am certain are better than the techfellows I had in college). The film presents an alternative future splicing together images and voice-overs of 1950’s film about the progress of society with people who are part of the organization promoting it. As two of the speakers said, Black Girls Code is an effort to make science tangible because that equals power and to show that science is magic and these girls can create magic.
Right now, they are doing a Indiegogo campaign for their summer of code, hosting in 10 cities with mobile labs, and in the future expand to include other programs, like arts and computer programming. One of the activities that we did at the event was to write about why we support and love Black Girls Code. I said basically what I said at the beginning and that I want people other than those who look like Steve Jobs to represent in these industries.
What are your reasons?