Working in digital marketing at startups and other tech companies has been inspiring and sometimes, culturally isolating for me. You won’t see many sisters at a garden variety startup. In fact, there are very few women of color who are steered toward science, technology, engineering or mathematics (#STEM) during the course of their education.
The gap between those who benefit largely from technology and those who do not is referred to as the digital divide. Studies show that the women and men in the African diaspora in the United States are not entering the fields of science and technology at the same rate as people of European descent.
Research shows African Americans may have mobile internet access, but many lack crucial broadband connections for home computers. Huffpo reported that Aaron Smith, a Pew Senior Research Specialist was quoted as saying, “black/latino students are about as likely as white students to go online — but white students are much more likely to do so from home, while minority students are much more likely to rely on access at their school or in a library.” Minority student in the U.S. are also more likely to access the internet via mobile devices.
Accessing the internet at school, in the library or on a mobile phone is helpful, but such intermittent access is by no means an equalizer. The digital divide is still visible.
Addressing that digital divide inspired Kimberly Bryant to found Black Girls Code. Her mission statement is clear:
There’s much to be said for making any challenging journey with people of the same cultural background.
Much has changed since my college days, but there’s still a dearth of African-American women in science, technology, engineering and math professions, an absence that cannot be explained by, say, a lack of interest in these fields. Lack of access and lack of exposure to STEM topics are the likelier culprits.
By launching Black Girls Code, I hope to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures.
Recently, I took two girls to the Build A Webpage Workshop at Pace Seidenberg, organized by the New York chapter of Black Girls Code. After the day-long workshop ended, the girls began reflecting on their schooling, diversity and more. I’m just amplifying their voices. Here are their reactions after the day-long Black Girls Code experience:
Black Radio Presents: Common & Marsha Ambrosius with Robert Glasper Experiment, a co-headlined limited engagement tour with Black Radio 2 guests Common and Ambrosius. The tour will make stops in cities including New York City (Best Buy Theater, Oct. 29) and Los Angeles (Club Nokia, Nov. 14). The NYC show details are below.
Looking for advice on how to take the next step in your career? Struggling to find mentorship in the journalism world? Join WAM (Women Action & the Media) for an informal conversation series with some of WAM’s most illustrious and awesome members.
The latest WAMentor is Zerlina Maxwell!
Zerlina is a political analyst and contributing writer for The New York Daily News, Feministing, theGrio, BET, and EBONY. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, JET Magazine, on CNN.com and other mainstream media outlets.
Zerlina is also a weekly guest and fill in host for Make It Plain with Mark Thompson on Sirius XM Progress and democratic commentator on Fox News and MSNBC.
Please note: there is now a suggested donation of $5 to support the event series (snacks & wine). The session of WAMentoring will take place at the offices of The Nation this month. Date: Wednesday, October 23, from 6:30pm until 8:00pm at 33 Irving Place, New York, NY. 8th Floor.
Women, girls, adults, parents, educators, and students 17 and up – this one’s for you!
The Black Girl Project has announced that registration for the October 26th Sisterhood Summit is open. This year’s theme is Digital Daughters: Black Girls Bridging The Divide, and promises to be our most enriching and engaging Summit yet. The date is Saturday, October 26th, 10am – 6pm, in Lower Manhattan. Register early — once the spaces are filled, registration closes. Register here >>
About The Black Girl Project
The Black Girl Project is a leading-edge, grassroots online organization that utilizes art, stories and media to celebrate, inspire and advance the lives of women and girls across the globe. Our mission is to inspire creativity, analytical and critical thinking, awareness and action on key issues for women and girls. This years summit address is below (and is FREE), but remember you must REGISTER first in order to attend.
Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 9:30am to 6pm! FREE!!
SUNY Empire State College
325 Hudson Street
(Corner of Vandam street)
New York, NY 10013-1005
Still unsure if you’re coming? Check out this workshop sample, we are sure it will change your mind:
How Can My Big Mouth Change The World: A Panel Discussion on the Power of Blogging [Youth Workshop]
Black women run things on the web. Whether it be through tweeting, blogging, and “liking”, black women are digital divas-using their words to make the world a better for black girls and women in this world.
On this panel, these “digital media mavens” share their passion for social change and how they use social media to advocate for girl power and promote positive images of black women and girls.
You know this panel is going to be amazing! Don’t wait until Friday. Register now.
The Brotha-2-Brotha Youth Summit empowers 125 high school boys and 20 middle school boys of Pan-African descent to reach their full potential by engaging them in workshops, live entertainment, and reflective activities. Utilizing a 3 step-process of self-awareness, self-appreciation, and self-actualization the workshops and activities equip participants with fundamental tools to make well-informed decisions today and in the future. Read More about the Agenda for the day. The date is Saturday, October 26 | 9:00am to 8:00pm | St. Francis College, Brooklyn. Register here!
The Fifth Annual FREEDOM DANCE will celebrate the 34th year of freedom since Assata Shakur’s liberation. Come dance and celebrate to Free All Political Prisoners. All proceeds go U.S. Political Prisoners. Please contact the organizers directly with any questions on how the money is handled. All of their contact info is below. Have a great time!
The National Black Theatre
2031 Fifth Avenue,
Harlem (at 126th Street)
7:30 pm – 12:00 midnight
Music by DJ Lumumba aka Revolution
Food and beverages available for purchase
For more information 917.415.5653 | email@example.com
Celebrate a great victory and get some extra energy to continue the work to Free All Political Prisoners!
About this Project
The NYC Girls’ Project is a multi-agency, multi-faceted project that will place public service announcements on buses and phone kiosks and on subways to remind girls that they are beautiful just the way they are.
Additionally, after school programs and classes were designed to offer girls the opportunity to learn and disucss women inthe areas of body image, media, and leadership.
Now you can take part in this exciting initiative by using your time passion, skills or willingness to raise girls’ self-esteem. Follow the links below to find a volunteer project that interests you.