Today is #Juneteenth. It’s a time to celebrate the advancement of freedom, while also resolving ourselves to the task left ahead. This is critical work across society, and our industry is not immune to inequities in access and opportunity.
Table of Contents
“Tech history is Black history and vice versa...”
I couldn’t agree more. What most of us are taught in school about this subject is dismally minimal, especially in comparison to the reality (or even to Wikipedia's list).
Brinkley also reminds us that African Americans are often “on the forefront of consumer trends in the tech space.” We know that early adoption and acceptance of any new technology is critical. Progress doesn't move much without it.
And if you don’t have the kids using novel tech, forget it!
Drawing stories in our minds shapes our worldview. But like with chalk on a sidewalk we can make changes, adapt, evolve. So let’s discuss:
➡️ Two organizations I love that are bringing more young gender and racial equilibrium into our industry.
Created in Atlanta, Georgia by Adrian Devezin, their mission is “to uplift the Black community by creating the school-to-career pipeline.”
Its Royalty Program teaches dev skills to high school students who want to work in the tech space. An ever-growing recruitment network helps ensure job placement in well-paying positions.
There are two requirements:
⭐ Access to reliable internet
⭐ Currently in 9th or 10th grade
And that’s it. Empowr takes care of equipment, culturally-relevant teaching, assessment, and way more. It’s a well-designed pipeline.
They partner with companies to provide apprenticeships, mentoring, and networking contacts while finishing high school and the program. Two of their students just landed internships at MIT!
With class sizes growing each year, I’m excited to see Empowr further expand its work. You should definitely check them out if you haven’t already!
As a woman who’s experienced the challenges of being female in our industry, this org is close to my heart. We need way more women here, even more so Black and other women of color.
Founded by Nyamekye Nti (named 2021 “Female Innovator of the Year” at Africa Tech Fest!), YaaW works in USA and some African countries to:
“Empower young Black women for the subsequent reinvestment into their communities.”
Besides fostering peer and mentor networks, their program features:
➡️ an AI-generated, gamified learning platform,
➡️ personal+professional development,
➡️ front end development (specifically Python, PHP, Django),
➡️ on-demand master classes designed to increase employment opportunities.
YaaW (aka Black Sisters in STEM) also has different ways for companies who share the vision to work with them. I’d strongly encourage you to read more about them, too.
These two amazing nonprofits are relatively new, and yet they’ve already accomplished so much. I can’t wait to see what they do next!
And yes, Mythic is already evaluating a collaboration with organizations like the ones here. If your company’s values align with groups like Empowr and YaaW, you can consider doing the same.
Happy Second Independence Day, everyone!