Thu Jun 24, 2021 | In News
BLACK BOYS CODE CELEBRATES FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF PROVIDING BLACK BOYS (8-17) WITH FREE COMPUTER SCIENCE AND CODING KNOWLEDGE
Since 2015, more than 1,500 Black boys have participated in coding workshops, hackathons, after-school programs, and summer technology camps through Black Boys Code. Headquartered in Vancouver, the national organization also has chapters across Canada in Brampton, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Windsor.
With a mission to address the lack of Black representation among tech workers, Black Boys Code inspires boys throughout the country to pursue education and careers in STEM disciplines. Offering the opportunity to develop needed skill sets at an early age, the organization works to disrupt the current landscape of the tech industry and foster a sense of belonging by uplifting its future leaders and innovators.
“Due to a lack of visible role models in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), many Black boys do not see themselves within the context of these fields of work,” says Bryan Johnson, founder and CEO of Black Boys Code. “Instead, they often look to those in the public eye and feel they must become the next big rapper or sports star.”
Working with successful Black men in the technology industry, Black Boys Code and its volunteers provide industry exposure and offer intensive training in computer science to help Black boys understand that they can become technology innovators and creators in the digital age.
“Representation is essential, so all speakers, instructors, volunteers, and mentors are always Black professionals,” says Johnson. “It’s rewarding to know that we are giving young Black boys an option they might not have considered before, and one that the school system doesn’t necessarily support.”
To celebrate the organization’s fifth anniversary, Black Boys Code is hosting a free virtual event on Sunday, September 27, at 1:00 PM EST. The event will feature prominent Black speakers from the Canadian tech industry, including Lawrence Eta (CTO at City of Toronto), Isaac Olowolafe (President of Dream Maker Corp.), Dorretha English (Senior Customer Service Manager at Alpha Technologies), and more. As well, the event will include a panel discussion on diversity in STEM, and will award one lucky graduate of the program with a $500 scholarship to help with their continued success in STEM education. To watch the livestream, viewers can register for a spot at https://black-boys-code-5th-anniversary.eventbrite.ca/.