In 2011 Electrical Engineer Kimberly Bryant founded Black Girls Code in San Francisco, California. Based in Oakland, California, Bryant's vision is to provide spaces for African American, Latina, and Native American girls between the ages of 7-17 to learn valuable computer science skills. Through global tours, Bryant has succeeded in bringing Black Girls Code to ten cities in the United States and one to Johannesburg South Africa. Bryant endeavors to bridge the gap between women of color and high tech opportunities.
Black Girls Code enables young women of color the coding experience. In a fun, entertaining environment attendees learn programming languages and frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Scratch. Participants learn to build mobile apps and games. Through after school programs, workshops, and hack-a-thons, students have the opportunity they normally would not have to engage with technology as maker, occupying the role of programmer. Participants build apps, games, and web pages, sometimes in the limited time span of one day while being exposed to STEM. Young women and girls are given the opportunity to learn what they are capable of and explore the scientific world in these environments, an environment that founder Kimberly Bryant is quite familiar with.
With over twenty years experience in the Biotech industry, Bryant noticed the lack of African American identifying women in Silicon Valley. During the span of her career, Bryant noticed a lack of representation of women of color at events throughout the Bay Area, Silicon Valley specifically. Bryant wanted to not only wanted to challenge the notion of the white male tech guy but also provide opportunities for her daughter as well as girls and young women who look like her, an image quite absent in the tech industry.
Black Girls Code succeeds equipping young African American, Latina, and Native American girls and young women with highly desirable technical skill. The organization also fosters and nourishes the interest and curiosities of those it serves. The young women who attend are often already drawn to technical gadgets and programs. Black Girls Code provides a place and a space for the individuals to explore and have their interest supported. Many of these girls come from Oakland, where Black Girls Code feels it found its home.