Kimberly Bryant was a freshman in college studying Electrical Engineering when she developed an interest in computer coding. As she and her fellow classmates pursued higher education, however, she noticed that there weren't many people in her classes that looked like her.
There is still an overwhelming absence of Black faces in fields such as math, science, and technology, so Bryant founded Black Girls Code, a non-profit, to "provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up."
Girl power, amiright?!
As Black Girls Code has developed and made waves from coast to coast—even to the White House—there are plenty of celebrities, politicians, and companies who want to partner with or join forces with Bryant and her team.
Recently, Uber expressed an interest in working with BGC by offering them a $125,000 grant. The donation was all apart of Uber's $3 million attempt to clean up their reputation of being a greedy corporation who ignores sexual harassment allegations.
Back in February of this year, Uber employee Susan Fowler went public and aired out the company's dirty little secrets (according to her). She said that her supervisor made sexual advances toward her, telling her that he and his girlfriend were in an open relationship. Fowler reported him to Human Resources but he was let off with a warning because he was a respected employee. She also wrote in her lengthy blog post that when the company purchased leather jackets for her team, 120 men received theirs, but six women, including Fowler, didn't. Uber said because the women's sizes couldn't be included in the bulk order, they would be left out.
And Fowler came correct...she had screenshots and emails. Yep, ol' girl brought all the receipts, but still no one was disciplined.
With all of the sexist drama allegations going on in Uber's workplace, Bryant decided that as nice as $125,000 of Uber's money looks, BGC wasn't going to take it.
“My decision is layered,” Bryant told TechCrunch. “I’ve been quite open for some time about the fact that we as an [organization] use Uber as a tool. We’re also headquartered in the city [Oakland] where they have planned to move. So I’ve been open to the notion that they can transform themselves. Yet their past history and ‘political’ nature of maneuvering is and was troubling.”
In this effort to show the world that they care about women, technology, and diversity, Uber has offered money to other non-profits, such as Girls Who Code. Yet, unlike Black Girls Code who were offered $125,000, Uber offered Girls Who Code $1.2 million.
Bryant and others felt some type of way about the disparity, but she wasn't surprised because Uber doesn't really invest in Oakland companies. She accused them of using the BGC for PR purposes and not because they truly care about young people of color.
“[It] seems a bit tone-deaf to really addressing real change in how they are moving towards both inclusion and equity. It appears to be more PR driven than actually focused on real change. So we turned it down.”
Do you think that if Bryant would have taken the money people would have thought she was a sellout? Or should she have just taken it and moved on?