April 13, 2016
Black Girls Rock Google
Last weekend, almost 100 black girls became Google developers at the tech giant’s New York City location.
The organization Black Girls Code led the day-long workshop in which the girls, who ranged in age from 7 to 17, were taught how to build a computer game. The workshop took place at Google’s Chelsea Market headquarters. The girls were taught how to build a game using the programming language Scratch.
Scratch is a powerful programming language, yet one cited as particularly kid-friendly. Easy and simple for beginners, Scratch features enough complexity and options for more experienced programmers. Straightforward and fun enough for even early elementary school students, it’s a good starting place before graduating to other languages such as StarLogo TNG and Pygame; this is how it’s described.
“You had to put together lots of different things to make this game that was just amazing!” said Austyn, a student who participated in Saturday’s event, to NY1 news.
“I feel like a huge reason why young women of color are so hesitant to join these spaces, walking into a room, like a lot of the really popular high school hackathons you walk in and you’re the only one there,” said volunteer Olivia Ross to reporter Natalie Duddridge about the lack of girls of color at coding and other tech events.
Black Girls Code is a nationally-renowned non-profit organization seeking to establish equal representation in the tech sector by supporting girls of color in their careers. Black Girls Code has held hundreds of workshops and project-based camps around the country, working to cultivate a passion for technology and impart critical skills to underrepresented young girls.
By promoting broader access to STEM instruction, Black Girls Code is educating the next generation of young professional women and working to diversify the technology industry. The app development workshop was broken into a morning and afternoon session. At the end of the workshop, the girls were able to present their finished projects. The workshop is just one of many events led by Black Girls Code. The organization holds regular hackathons around the country to introduce more young women of color to computer programming.
Google has also been involved in pushing efforts of diversifying the tech industry and in promoting social justice.
Recently, the company’s charitable arm, Google.org, awarded $3 million in grants to a number of social justice causes including San Francisco’s My Brother and Sister’s Keeper (MBSK) program; Oakland’s Roses in Concrete Community School; the tech-enabled college success startup, Beyond12; and the national Equal Justice Initiative.