1. This morning I gave a talk at a high school in Oakland about becoming a computer scientist! Then I chatted for an extra half an hour with these wonderful students about what it means to be a WOC in tech. Today has been wonderful. <3 (at Castlemont Community of Small Schools High School)

    (Source: lifeissweetgood)

     


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  3. Black Coders Needed for Black Life Matters Ride to Ferguson MO

    via carriemartha (Twitter):

    "The Black Life Matters Ride is a National Event to get black people with needed skills to Ferguson, MO over Labor Day weekend for on the ground support, networking and movement building! Coders & Tech people are currently underrepresented on the roster of travelers, YOU ARE NEEDED!

    If you are able to cover your own travel costs that is awesome, but we are fundraising and it is not necessary to contribute financially if you are not able. 
    Fundraising link for Bay Area: http://www.gofundme.com/df9254
    Fundraising link for national event: https://www.crowdrise.com/50kin50daysRiseDandelions/fundraiser/DarnellMoore

    WHO: Black People with Coding & Tech Skills

    WHAT: Black Life Matters Ride to Ferguson, MO

    Link to National fb event: https://www.facebook.com/events/620873174696015/

    Link to Bay Area fb event: https://www.facebook.com/events/536359979842948/
    WHEN/WHERE: 
    Caravan from the Bay to LA leaves Wednesday, August 27th (Megabus @ 8:45a, 5:00p, or 11:59pm)
    Caravan from LA leaves TBD location @ 11:00am Thursday, August 28th
    Caravan back to LA leaves Ferguson Sunday Afternoon and arrives in LA Monday evening
    CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL COORDINATOR (info below) about rides leaving from your area!
    WHY

    Local Organizers and community members in Ferguson, MO have asked for black people with specific skills to travel to Ferguson and offer support to local efforts. 

    Specific Skills Needed:

    Medics (Doctors, Nurses, EMT)
    Attorneys
    Photographers & Videographers (not press affiliated )
    Organizers with experience working with youth, especially those with experience in Street Theater & Civil Disobedience
    Spiritual Healers/Counselors
    Tech folks ( Data, Coders, CRM, Graphic Designers)

    More Information:
    On August 28th, the “Black Life Matters Ride” an initiative of #BlackLivesMatter will bring Black folks from across the country into Ferguson, Missouri, as part of a national call to end state violence against Black people. 

    The “Black Life Matters Ride” is a call to action, a slogan under which Black people can unite to end state sanctioned violence both in Ferguson, but also across the United States of America. In addition, it aims to end the insidious and widespread assault on Black life that pervades every stage of law enforcement interactions; be it in custody or in our communities. 

    While Black people make up a mere 13% of the US population we make up more than a third of those killed in officer involved shootings across the country. We know that anti-black racism in the form of vigilante violence is most often informed by law enforcement violence. As a national call to action, the “Black Life Matters Ride” is unifying Black people under the following demands:

    1. Justice for the family of Michael Brown and all other victims of law enforcement and vigilante violence. 
    2. The development of a national policy specifically aimed at redressing the systemic pattern of anti-black law enforcement violence in the US. 
    3. De-militarization of Law Enforcement - we are demanding that the federal government discontinue its supply of military weaponry and equipment to local law enforcement. Furthermore, law enforcement agencies across the country should liquidate their current military resources, immediately.
    4. Release the names of all officers involved in murdering Black people both on patrol, but also inside custody from the last 5 years onward. 
    5. Decrease law enforcement spending/budget by ½ by 2016, and invest that money into Black communities most devastated by poverty in order to create jobs, housing, and schools. 

    -We will arrive in Ferguson on Saturday, August 30th, 2014, and we will leave on Monday, September 1st. While there we will fulfill the following agenda:

    •Thursday- Friday: Riders travel from destinations to Ferguson.

    NATIONAL WEEKEND of ACTION!

    • Saturday: Solidarity march and/or local community engagement efforts coordinated with local community members. 

    •: Sunday: Establish next steps and key action items in the #Blacklivesmatter movement. Riders return to destinations- equipped to continue the fight inside of their local networks. 

    We hope these rides will become a standard practice towards greater solidarity inside of the Black community!

    National Contact Information:
    Black Lives Matter
    BlackLivesMatter@gmail.com
     
    Regional Contact Information:
    East Coast Coordinator Darnell L. Moore (862) 234-9074
    West Coast Coordinator Patrisse Marie Cullors-Brignac (213) 375-4518
     
    Local Contact Information:
    Bay Area Point Person Carrie Leilam Love (510) 773-3075
    Chicago Point Person Aislinn Pulley
    Texas Point Person Logan Cotton
    Pacific Northwest Point Person Tessara Dudley
    Ohio (Columbus) Point Person Tay Glover
    North Carolina Point Person Tia Epps
    North East (NYC/NJ/Philly) Point Person Monica Dennis
    Community Liaison Cor Ece 314.566.4722
    Registration deadline for the ride is MIDNIGHT TONIGHT! So if people are interested/available they need to act quickly.  Click here for the link to the reg form!”
    ***EDIT*** For allies who want to help/contribute, you can:
    1) Help fund this!
    2) Participate in and/or support events happening in your region in solidarity (e.g. liking "Black Life Matters" on Facebook and using that to keep updated)
    3) Contact your regional coordinator to see what their specific needs are (e.g. the Bay Area Coordinator Carrie Leilam Love (carriemartha) requested support in outreach to organizations for their sponsorship).

    Please repost!
     

  4. talesofscienceandlove:

    Three JKUAT female students Tuesday May 27, 2014 won the Safaricom Technovation Challenge, for developing a mosquito repellent application dubbed Quitmosquito. The Second year Computer Science majors comprising Pauline Mbabu, Caroline Kimathi and Nancy Adhiambo emerged top with their innovation that employs ultrasonic sound frequencies to cause stress to mosquitoes, hence keeping them at bay. The App also integrates a music player for entertainment and to minimize user irritation at low frequencies. - @blackfemalecoders

    Thanks talesofscienceandlove for adding the pic! :)

    (Source: jkuat.ac.ke)

     


  5. Three JKUAT female students Tuesday May 27, 2014 won the Safaricom Technovation Challenge, for developing a mosquito repellent application dubbed Quitmosquito. The Second year Computer Science majors comprising Pauline Mbabu, Caroline Kimathi and Nancy Adhiambo emerged top with their innovation that employs ultrasonic sound frequencies to cause stress to mosquitoes, hence keeping them at bay. The App also integrates a music player for entertainment and to minimize user irritation at low frequencies.

    I hope they’re able to make it to San Francisco!!

     


  6. Rape and sexual violence is used as a weapon of war around the world. It destroys whole communities and ruins the lives of women and men, boys and girls.

    Over the last 18 months the political will to tackle these terrible crimes and injustices has dramatically increased. But political condemnations rarely lead to action on the ground. Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, are hosting a Global Summit this June in London to bring together governments, civil society, media, military and judiciary to turn political will into practical action.

    It will be the biggest meeting ever held of its kind.

    In addition, the Dutch Embassy in London, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, MakeSense and Chayn will be combining forces to offer a #EndSVCHack hackathon for envisioning and designing technical solutions to combat sexual violence in conflict.

    These technical solutions will focus on supporting the four aims of the summit, which are: 1. Reporting and Documenting Sexual Violence 2. Supporting Survivors 3. Promoting Gender Equality 4. Improving Collaboration between Organisations and Activists

    Ideas will be crowdsourced beforehand and participants may choose from those submitted, or generate their own.

    This. sounds. so. dope.

     


  7. "Fake it until you become it" — Amy Cuddy

    I just watched this incredible Ted talk from social psychologist Amy Cuddy where she discusses using nonverbal communication (aka body language) as a way of influencing how you feel about yourself.  The most inspiring part of this talk for me starts at minute 16:02, where she tells the story of how she dealt with impostor syndrome and then was able to help a student overcome it as well.  I found it particularly inspiring because it reminded me of all of the points in my life and my career where I felt I didn’t belong and was terrified of what would happen when those around me suddenly discovered that I was not “supposed” to be there.  And the reasons I thought of to rationalize this impostor syndrome ranged significantly but in the end, despite those reasons, I deserved to be where I was.  I know I’m not the only one who has dealt with this, especially as a software engineer —- I have had talks with so many people of various backgrounds who felt they weren’t worthy of what they had achieved, despite all of the facts demonstrating the opposite.  I love Amy Cuddy’s philosophy of utilizing nonverbal communication as a way to combat that mentality and change how we view and appreciate ourselves.

     


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  9. A Quick Word on ‘The Stanley Parable’

    I played 'The Stanley Parable' tonight and it was seriously as awesome as my coworkers hyped it up to be.  If you haven’t heard of or yet played ‘The Stanley Parable,’ it’s a PC game out on Steam that is about a man named Stanley—well, I can’t tell you the rest or I would ruin the game for you.  It’s a not a long game at all: the first time around took me just under 2 hours and the second time from start to finish took less than 5 minutes.  It is the kind of game that made me think, not just about the gameplay but also about my own life.  It’s a game that reinforces the idea of agency (or questions it?) and I spent quite a bit of time afterwards reflecting on what ‘agency’ really means.

    I think agency can mean something completely different to each individual and is highly dependent on context, circumstance and possibly even previous choices.  I still can’t believe I switched up my whole life only just 8 months ago to move across the country to New York to pursue a program that seemed too good to be true and ended up being so good and completely true, only to then afterwards drive cross-country and land in the bay area.  I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit recently but, after playing this game, I realized it’s not just the consequences of the choices I made that make me feel a sense of agency; it’s the fact that I made these choices for myself.  It feels like a pretty powerful realization to have now that I’ve had it but it’s also something that I think we all so easily lose sight of when life isn’t going the way we want.  We tend to forget how much choice we really have.  We always have the choice to make our own choices, and each choice leads to another set of choices.  To bring it back to computer science terms, maybe life can be described as a decision tree where each node has an infinite number of branches from which we can choose to move to a next node to form our individual path.

    I encourage you to play ‘The Stanley Parable.’  You might play it and have a life epiphany like I did, or you might play it and think it’s silly. Either way, the choice is always yours.

     


  10. Why my first job was crucial (& what I got out of it for the next one)

    Hey Coders!  I’m finally in the Bay area, after all of the adventure it took to get here, including a crazy fun cross-country road trip.  I have officially landed on one single spot on the U.S. map and I’m happy to start calling the Bay area home.

    It’s been nearly a month now since I started as an engineer at Apportable and it has already been a blast.  My brain feels like it’s overflowing everyday with all of the new knowledge I’ve been acquiring.  Plus, I’ve gotten to help out with some really awesome projects so far, including working on the android version of this awesome game called OLO and representing our company’s booth at the Game Developers Conference last week.

    One of the aspects I have loved so far about starting at Apportable is how encouraged I was to just jump right in.  Though not required, they hope that new engineers can try to push code, regardless of how minor or major a change, on their first day.  Before my first day, I was feeling a bit intimidated only because it seemed like such a huge feat.  What if I didn’t understand the system well enough?  What if I still didn’t know what I was doing by the end of the day?  What if I wasn’t as experienced an engineer as I thought I was?  (Oh, impostor syndrome…).

    However, upon getting there, I realized that despite a number of differences from the atmosphere of my first job at Lexmark, there were also quite a few things that stayed the same or at the very least were familiar enough for me to pick up new things.  For instance, having gained a thorough understanding of Git from my previous job, I was able to jump right in and pull down the code I needed to start working immediately.  Having experience with build systems and Makefiles made it easier for me to understand how to build this platform I was working with for the first time by equating similar concepts that I had previously encountered.  And though the developer tools I now use at Apportable are not the same ones I used at Lexmark, having that prior workflow at Lexmark and knowing how I needed to set my workstation up to make myself the most productive I could be allowed me to set myself up in a matter of hours, rather than the number of days that it took the first time around.  By the end of my first day at Apportable, I pair programmed on a small project and was able to push some code changes and submit them to the rest of the engineering team for code review.

    The idea that prior experience helps inform new experiences seems obvious to me now, but I was super unaware of this while at my first job.  Back then, I had just come out of college and had no experience with things like version control, various text editors (and the shortcuts to make them more convenient to use), build systems, working with a super huge codebase….basically many of the tools and experiences that make up the daily life of a Software Engineer.  All I knew then was that I was eager to code.  Now I know there’s more to it than that: there exists a plethora of tools and resources that I can assemble to form a workflow that allows me to code more productively and efficiently (which is the reason I advocate computer science education programs incorporating classes on dev tools as part of their “software engineering” tracks, but I digress…).

    Though I was less attuned to it then, I know now just how much my first job taught me and how invaluable that knowledge is.  And thankfully, the foundation provided to me by my first job has helped support the weight of the new knowledge I’m acquiring everyday at my new job.

    If you have any insights you’ve gained from your own work experience, I’d be happy to post it!  Message me or email blackfemalecoders at gmail dot com!