TSD Memphis

Thu04172014

Greater Metro

Black Girls Code extends its roots to Memphis

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For African-American girls in Memphis, positive things in the world of technology have come to town via Black Girls Code.

Credit Nnaemeka Egwuekwe – the Chapter Lead for the Memphis chapter of Black Girls Code (BGC) – with the hook-up. When Egwuekwe found out about the national organization and the opportunities it provides for young girls, he decided to do all he could to bring it to Memphis.

The founder of BGC is Kimberly Bryant, a native Memphian. Egwuekwe contacted her and made a successful pitch for a Memphis chapter. Two sold-out workshops speak to the need for the local chapter.

Bryant told me that she had been working in corporate America for many years and nursing a desire to start her own company when the idea for BGC took root. The idea began to evolve as she went to numerous conventions and workshops and noticed that there were few African Americans – and particularly women – in attendance. Meanwhile, her daughter was developing a an intense interest in the computer and Bryant wanted her to get more out of the days and nights he spent on it.

So, mother enrolled daughter in a weeklong computer programming class. While her daughter loved the class, Bryant observed that she was one of only three girls in it – and the only African American. Something needed to be done. An organization was needed to give young black girls some of the same opportunities available to others. BGC was launched in 2011.

Black Girls Code, she said, is about "finding the next generation of talent that resides in our girls of color, and giving them the motivation and confidence plus technical skills to know that they can do and become anything they want."

The goal? The girls mentored by Black Girls Code becoming the leaders and change makers of tomorrow in the world of technology.

(For more information about Black Girls code, visit www.blackgirlscode.com.)

(Deidra Shores is the iTeen Reporter for The New Tri-State Defender.)