Black Girls Code rings NYSE closing bell, marking end of Black History Month

26 Feb 2019196 Views

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One of the shining stars of STEM outreach, Black Girls Code, was given the honour of ringing the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange.

Founded by previous Inspirefest speaker Kimberly Bryant, Black Girls Code is a US-based science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) outreach programme that aims to train 1m African-American girls coding skills by 2040.

Since it was founded in 2011, it has risen to great prominence among the STEM community and the media at large, including opening its headquarters within Google’s New York office and making an appearance on TV show Empire in 2016.

A number of members were given the chance to head to the heart of New York’s financial powerhouse, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), to ring the closing bell and mark the end of the day’s trading.

Black Girls Code was invited to the event to mark the end of Black History Month. As part of her duty on the day, member Madison Clark rang the bell. However, in a moment of hilarity, her strength ended up breaking the gavel, though the NYSE assured her it was good luck to do so.

To mark Black History month, the organisation ran a Future Tech Boss series documenting some of the members, their interests in coding and how they are looking to change the world. “We hope this campaign will serve as motivation and empowerment for the future generation of tech divas and show the world that black girls code and do so much more,” Black Girls Code said in a blogpost.

More than a year ago, the non-profit teamed up with the ride-sharing service Lyft to join the latter’s Round Up and Donate programme, which has raised millions of dollars for a number of other campaigns, including Girls Who Code. It was a noticeable announcement given that a number of months prior to that, Black Girls Code turned down a grant offer of $125,000 from Lyft’s biggest rival, Uber.

Updated, 1.38pm, 26 February 2019: This article was updated to clarify that Uber offered Black Girls Code a grant of $125,000, not $250,000.

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com