Students Create Apps To Better Humanity In Just Three Days With Black Girls Code

July 29, 2015  |  

Black Girls Code held its second hackathon over the weekend in Brooklyn, NY as girls in grades 6 through 12 created apps in just three short days focused on social justice.

The New York chapter of Black Girls Code, an organization focused on bringing technology education to young women of color, brought together 80 girls and over 50 mentors and volunteers for its second hackathon of the year.

The Huffington Post spoke with the weekend’s participants who shared joy in learning among women and girls who looked like them.

Olivia Ross, 13, said she likes coding a lot but most of her coder friends are “usually not female and they’re usually not black.”

The 80 young women teamed up with mentors to develop prototypes for apps, attend workshops on design and coding and gain the smarts of guest speakers.

The theme of the organization’s second hackathon was “project humanity,” challenging the girls to create apps that will aid in social justice. On the final day of the event, judges analyzed the apps and picked three top teams.

Ross attended the first hackathon put on this year and returned for the second wanting an environment where “everyone around me is also interested in the same things I am, and they all look like me.”

The first-place team won $2,000 for creating an app called Mana. Mana is a forum that allows students to collaborate and study together virtually. While the second-place winning team created the BeeU app focused on helping inspire kids who have been bullied.

“You see girls leave and they’re super excited,” said event organizer Calena Jamieson, “and their parents are able to see what they’ve done in the space of a day or weekend.”

It is widely known that the tech industry is mostly dominated by white men. In 2013 only three percent of the computing workforce consisted of African-American women.

Black Girls Code was founded in 2011 by electrical engineer Kimberly Bryant who hopes to level the playing field and help fix the low numbers of Black women in tech.

Within the two short years that the New York chapter of Black Girls Code have been in business, the organization has gone from serving 300 girls to 500 girls.

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