Tag: Black Girls Code

College Student Kaya Thomas Creates “We Read Too” Mobile Directory of 600 Books that Prioritize Diversity 

We Read Too app creator Kaya Thomas (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

article by Katherine Brooks via huffingtonpost.com

As a kid, Kaya Thomas enjoyed reading. “No matter how old I was, what I was going through, how I felt in any moment, a book was always a means of escape” she wrote in a blog post in 2015. “A way to dive into a new world and become a new character.”As a self-professed “nerdy black girl in high school,” Thomas’ love of books, and the escapism they afforded, only grew. She’d read three or four a week, seeking solace in their pages when she “felt very different than most of my peers.”

Something changed in those high school years, though. As a mature reader, she began to pay more attention to how the characters in her favorite books were described ― namely, how they were meant to look. “When I was a teenager I began to realize that a lot of the books I read didn’t have characters that looked like me,” she’s since admitted. “Realizing that made me feel invisible.”

So as a student at Dartmouth College, Thomas decided to do something about her sense of invisibility. Not only did she search the internet, compiling her own list of books written by authors of color that put characters of color in primary storylines, she learned to code so that she could share her database with other young readers. After taking part in a Black Girls Code hackathon, and learning the ins and outs of iOs during an internship, Thomas devised an iPhone app that functioned as a directory of 300 books showcasing characters of color.

“Young people should be able to see themselves represented in literature, so they know that their stories are important and that there are authors who […] celebrate their background and show the real lives of people like them,” Thomas wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. She cited books like Nalo Hopkinson’s The Chaos and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus as influential titles in her own life.

“When young people don’t see themselves represented positively in books, TV, movies and other forms of media, that erasure really harms self-image and how you perceive yourself as you grow up,” she added. Thomas’ app ― We Read Too ― launched in 2014 and has since grown to include over 600 relevant books. It’s also amassed over 15,000 iPhone users, who’ve downloaded the free app and suggested 1,600 other titles be added to the database.

And Thomas wants to meet their demands.Her skills as an iOS developer have grown throughout the course of her various internships and engagement with online development communities. She recently launched an Indiegogo campaign with the hopes of updating her app, quickly surpassing her goal of raising $10,000. Now with a stretch goal of $25,000, she has a few more objectives in mind: hire someone to review the books users suggest and grow the database to include 1,000 titles, create an Android version of We Read Too and initiate a UI redesign, and create a website version of her directory.

To read more, go to: College Student Creates A Mobile Directory Of 600 Books That Prioritize Diversity | The Huffington Post

TECH: Five STEM Programs Geared Towards Girls

(photo via blackenterprise.com)

article by Samara Lynn via blackenterprise.com

In honor of International Women’s Day, let’s focus on tomorrow’s women—today’s girls. It’s no secret; future success requires well-balanced literacy in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Girls are in danger of being left behind in a technology-first world, and this disadvantage starts in the classroom.

Studies show that, after the age of six, girls think boys are naturally smarter.That has to change, and this change can start by giving girls a head start in science and mathematics at as young an age as possible. While grown women continue the fight to equalize opportunity and advancement on the career battlefield, here are some great programs you can get your girl involved with now to make her STEM-strong.

GOALS for Girls Summer Intensive

The GOALS (Greater Opportunities Advancing Leadership and Science) for Girls Summer Intensive is a free, six-week program for eighth and ninth grade girls. Fifty girls are selected to participate in hands-on experiences, field trips, and conversations with influential women currently in STEM fields. The program focuses on aerospace science, Earth science, and engineering; providing a range of studies appealing to different interests.

Google’s MadeWithCode

Girls can jump right in online and start learning to program with MadeWithCode. The site offers an online community where girls support and learn from one another. There are also actual community MadeWithCode events listed, and parents can host a MadeWithCode party IRL, by downloading the party kit.

New York STEAM Girls Collaborative 

The NGCP (National Girls Collaborative Project)is an effort to bring together those who teach STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) courses and programs that seek to engage girls in STEAM. It publishes reports and delves into the topic of diversity in STEM. On the NGCP website, there is a drop-down menu that lets you search in all states and countries for a wide assortment of STEM/STEAM programs targeted toward girls.

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is 40,000 members strong. It is an international effort, with Girls Who Code groups in several countries. Parents can look for already established Girls Who Code clubs in their area, or start their own. There is also a yearly Summer Immersion Program open to girls in tenth and eleventh grade that introduces them to computer science and provides insight into the hottest tech careers.

Black Girls Code 

Black Girls Code has become synonymous with diversifying and leveling the STEM fields. It’s one of the better known STEM programs for girls, and that is, without a doubt, due to the persistence and dedication of founder Kimberly Bryant. From hackathons to events around the country, girls are sure to find instruction, access, and leadership by joining Black Girls Code.

To read original article, go to: 5 Programs to Make Your Girl STEM-Strong

Black Girls Code Gets New $2.8M Space Inside Google’s New York Headquarters

(Photo via blackgirlscode.com)
(Photo via blackgirlscode.com)

article by Tanisia Kenney via atlantablackstar.com

Black women in the tech industry are few and far between. It’s an even more daunting task to get young girls of color interested in STEM, let alone present them with the opportunity to learn skills like coding and computing.

Earlier this year, the National Association for Women & Information Technology reported that Black women comprised a measly 3 percent of the technology workforce in 2015. An even smaller percentage — .04 to be exact — of tech startups were led by African-American women, according to #ProjectDiane.

In an effort to bridge this longstanding race gap and foster diversity in the tech industry, search giant Google is providing space at its New York headquarters to house a blooming non-profit dedicated to teaching young girls of color how to code.

Google and Black Girls Code have teamed up to launch a sprawling 3,000-square-foot work space at the company’s Manhattan office, CNet reports. The tech giant purchased the building in 2010, which will now serve as the new home of Black Girls Code.

Valued at nearly $2.8 million, the new space will be used to introduce students of color to the world of technology, inspiring them to possibly pursue a career in tech. The non-profit also hopes to tap into Google’s mentorship and internship opportunities.

With Black Girls Code housed at its headquarters, the space also gives Google access to fresh talent.

“We need a tech sector that looks like the society it serves, and groups like Black Girls Code are ensuring that we can cultivate and access talent in communities of color,” said William Floyd, Google’s head of external affairs.

According to Kimberly Bryant, founder and CEO of Black Girls Code, Google has hosted a number of student workshops at its New York office in the past. Their new partnership will allow the non-profit to have a permanent work space at the company, CNet reports.

“They’re able to influence these girls that Google is a company they might want to come work for once they graduate,” Bryant said.

Being a computer programmer herself, Bryant launched Black Girls Code in 2011 with the hope of providing young and adolescent girls of color the opportunity to learn technology and computer programming skills.

“That, really, is the Black Girls Code mission: to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures,” the company’s website states.

Serving as the non-profit’s first New York office, the space will double as a classroom and an outpost for its East Coast programs, according to Fortune.

The great thing about the Google/Black Girls Code partnership is that it’s mutually beneficial: the non-profit will have access to Google’s resources, while the tech giant will have the opportunity to foster talent from a group of young Black women.

To read more, go to: http://atlantablackstar.com/2016/06/29/non-profit-black-girls-code-gets-new-home-googles-new-york-office/


Serena Williams Covers and Serves as Guest Editor for “Wired” Magazine this Month

Serena Williams
Serena Williams (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

For the latest edition of Wired magazine, Serena Williams is doing more than just gracing the cover.

The tennis superstar is also serving as a guest editor in a special issue designed to look specifically at the issues of equality and diversity across a range of different communities and backgrounds. From science fiction to sports and from science to Hollywood, many different voices have joined together to tell their stories.

In her editorial, Williams talked about a multitude of ways that we can help fight for equality for ourselves and each other. She mentioned educational programs like Black Girls Code, and also noted the simple need to stand up for people who are being harassed (for example, she specifically mentioned the moment famed author J.K. Rowling stood up for and inspired her.)


She also called for more opportunity for people of every background:

Equality is important. In the NFL, they have something called the Rooney rule. It says that teams have to interview minority candidates for senior jobs. It’s a rule that companies in Silicon Valley are starting to follow too, and that’s great. But we need to see more women and people of different colors and nationalities in tech. That’s the reason I wanted to do this issue with WIRED—I’m a black woman, and I am in a sport that wasn’t really meant for black people. And while tennis isn’t really about the future, Silicon Valley sure is. I want young people to look at the trailblazers we’ve assembled below and be inspired. I hope they eventually become trailblazers themselves. Together we can change the future.

You can check out Williams’ full editorial here, and you should definitely go out and get the November issue for more amazing stories like hers, and to support black women having a much larger place in all technological fields and industries.

article via thegrio.com

Black Engineers Join Forces in Non-Profit Group /dev/color to Boost Diversity

Pinterest engineer and /dev/color founder Makinde Adeagbo (Photo: Awara Adeagbo)
Pinterest engineer and /dev/color founder Makinde Adeagbo
(Photo: Awara Adeagbo)

SAN FRANCISCO — Makinde Adeagbo knows how isolating it can be to live and work in Silicon Valley as an African American. He says it’s even more isolating to be a software engineer here.

Adeagbo, who is an engineer at the San Francisco company Pinterest, says he can go weeks without spotting another black engineer in America’s tech hub.  “It’s not only that you are the only black person in the room or in the company, often times you are the only black person you see in Palo Alto or Menlo Park,” says Adeagbo, 30.

About 1% of engineers at Facebook and Google are African American. The population of Palo Alto, Calif. is 2% African American, Menlo Park, Calif., is under 5%.

Over the summer Adeagbo founded /dev/color, a nonprofit group for African-American engineers that officially launched on Wednesday. The group brings together engineers from top companies such as Facebook, Uber and Airbnb to provide support and a voice to African Americans and give them the opportunity to raise up the next generation, Adeagbo says.

Adeagbo says he hit on the idea while volunteering as a mentor to a couple of computer science students.

“These students knew they had someone who had their backs, whom they could look up to and reach out to when they needed help. I thought to myself: Every black software engineer could accomplish a lot if they had someone like this,” says Adeagbo. .

The name /dev/color is a reference to a common directory on computer systems “as well as our efforts to strengthen the community of Black software engineers, engineers of color,” he says.

Adeagbo’s /dev/color is joining Black Girls CodeCode 2040 and the Hidden Genius Project, a new and growing wave of enterprising organizations founded by African Americans aimed at addressing the scarcity of African Americans in the tech industry.

“Other black software engineers need to provide this for the black engineers coming behind them,” says Adeagbo, who is splitting his time between /dev/color and Pinterest. “We all need to work together to pull ourselves up and make sure we are accomplishing all that we can.”

The challenge is daunting: A fraction of the tech work force in Silicon Valley is African American and little progress has been made to address the problem. Only 1% of venture-capital-backed start-ups are led by African-Americans and less than 1% of general partners at major venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, the ones that back tomorrow’s Facebooks and Googles, are African American.

Continue reading “Black Engineers Join Forces in Non-Profit Group /dev/color to Boost Diversity”

Kollective South’s Sian Morson Introduces Atlanta Community to Tech

Kollective South’s Sian Morson

Entrepreneurial tech hubs are emerging across the country. The opportunities once reserved for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley have now expanded beyond those borders, reaching Midwestern hotbeds like Detroit and Chicago, and even northeastern locales such as Newark and Washington, D.C. But the commercial capital of the southeastern U.S., Atlanta, has all the makings of a robust tech ecosystem.

With the nation’s busiest airport, a high concentration of colleges and universities, and Fortune 500 companies like Coca-Cola, Home Depot and UPS headquartered in Atlanta, among other things, the city’s emerging tech scene is slowly inching up on the highly-coveted “top” lists.

After visiting Atlanta during Digital Undivided’s START weekend earlier this year and exploring the scene, self-described mobile evangelist Sian Morson decided she wanted in. “I had some friends here who were telling me what was going on in the scene and so I made a couple of visits,” says Morson, who, at the time, also began floating her co-working space idea around. Before she knew it, the Oakland resident packed up her belongings and moved to Atlanta, opening Kollective South in the Castleberry Hill area in October. Located near Atlanta’s Central Business District, KSouth is the newest co-working community in town and already generating quite a buzz within the local tech community.  “I just wanted to give back in my own way and so KSouth is my way to do that,” says Morson.

BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the Kollective Mobile founder to discuss the inspiration behind Kollective South, bringing tech innovation to urban areas and what’s next for the mobile maven.

Continue reading “Kollective South’s Sian Morson Introduces Atlanta Community to Tech”

White House Recognizes Tech Leaders As ‘Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion’

BQh2fIYCMAAL-UvThe White House gathered a group of non-profit workers, educators, and startup founders to be honored on Wednesday as “Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion.” As part of the White House Tech Inclusion initiative, the event recognized tech leaders working to expand opportunities within the tech field for young innovators, specifically minorities, women and girls, and individuals underserved or underrepresented.

Kimberly Bryant, founder and executive director of Black Girls CodeKathryn Finney, founder and managing director of digitalundivided, and founder and executive director at iUrbanTeen Deena Pierott are among the 11 change-agents that were honored during the event.  President Obama and his administration are committed to expanding opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), vowing to increase the number of STEM graduates by one million over the next ten years. That prompted the chief executive to launch White House Tech Inclusion efforts, which are geared toward providing tech skills and opportunities to the next generation of innovators in the United States. Comedian and author of New York Times bestseller How To Be Black Baratunde Thurston served as moderator for the Champions of Change discussion.

In January, the Obama administration organized the White House Tech Inclusion Summit where five new programs were announced.

article by Janel Martinez via blackenterprise.com

Black Girls Code Raises Over $100,000 to Train Next Generation of Tech Divas


9078662219_4df7a13dd1_cBlack Girls Code, the non-profit organization dedicated to teaching young women of color about computer science, technology and coding languages, has raised $109,357 and counting via Indiegogo.com for their 2013 10-city summer program, and hopes to raise $25,000 more by this evening, Friday, July 26, to provide this year’s Tech Divas with new equipment for their mobile apps workshop.  

9078688061_af665c957b_cThe summer tour kicks off August 3rd in Detroit, travels to Oakland with mobile app summer bootcamp August 5-9, then heads to Pittsburgh, Memphis, New York, Washington DC, Tallahassee, Dallas, Miami and Chicago on subsequent dates.  To learn more about Black Girls Code, watch the video below, or go to Indiegogo.com.  To register for the summer programs, go to blackgirlscode.com.  Onward and upward!

Related Stories: BlackGirlsCode Wins $50,000 Philanthropy Award

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson