By Any Media Necessary: Mapping Youth and Participatory Politics

Black Girls Code


Through computer programming and digital technology workshops, afterschool programs, and summer camps, Black Girls Code (BGC) is a nonprofit organization that aims to “increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7-17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.”

Following the motto “Imagine. Build. Create.,” Black Girls Code addresses the digital divide by targeting underrepresented young women and encouraging exploration in the computer sciences and digital technologies from early on in their lives. In addition to learning to be users and consumers of media and digital technologies, BGC participants learn the skills and tools necessary to be able to create and control their digital lives.

Surrounded by mentors and peers that look like them, girls learn skills such as computer programming and coding, game development, and building web and mobile applications. Although the organization is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, BGC workshops and events are held around the country in cities such as Nashville, TN, Dallas, TX, Memphis, TN, Oakland, CA, NYC, Atlanta, GA, Austin, TX , Las Vegas, NV, Detroit, MI, New Orleans, LA, and Johannesburg. Events include “Build a Mobile App in a Day,” “Build a Game in a Day,” and the Black Girls CODE Hackathon, where girls learn research and design skills as well as teamwork, working with mentors and peers to build mobile apps and digital tools. During these events and workshops, BGC participants learn webmaker tools such as Hackasaurus and Thimble, game development tools like Kodu, and programming languages such as HTML, CSS, Scratch, and Ruby on Rails, to name a few.

As the organization expands, BGC will continue to form innovative partnerships, such as the bilingual coding workshop with Latino Startup Alliance, and build out programs that can help address other aspects of the digital divide (e.g., coming soon: Black Boys Code).

Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant, a biotechnology engineer, started the organization in 2011 to foster the growth of the next generation of tech leaders and entrepreneurs.

For more information about Black Girls Code, visit their website.
Contributed by Diana Lee on 7/16/14

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