Written By Roberto Peligro Joseph.
Today we celebrate Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code, and a strong woman who saw a void that needed to be filled and attacked it. Kimberly says that as a child she was a “girly-girl” who spent her time playing with dolls and dreaming of becoming a lawyer. It wasn’t until high school that her guidance counselor coaxed her into pursuing a degree in engineering citing her affinity for science and math. While attending Vanderbilt University in 1985, she fell in love with electronics, with the microchip, and the invention of the cell phone and the personal computer. Gaining her degree in high-voltage electronics she would go on to work at Westinghouse Electric and DuPont.
But she soon realized that something was missing. She was often the only women in her classes, now the only women at conferences, and most certainly, the only black woman at either. Fast forward a few decades and she sends her daughter, Kai, to coding camp at Stanford University. Her daughter was the only black girl at the camp, which opened up Kimberly’s old wounds. She didn’t want a life of isolation for her daughter.
So in 2011 Bryant founded Black Girls Code. She took a small group of about 15 girls ages 6-13 and taught them the basics of programming as well as application and web design. They even went on field trips to Google and Facebook. And by 2014 the camp had reached more than 3000 girls! She is well on her way to her goal of teaching coding to 1 million girls by 2040.