Hidden No More

Proud to be Black, but Black is Not All I Am

Posted by Shemika Lamare on March 1, 2017

I volunteered at another Black Girls Code event and it was great. I love going to these events and seeing all the young girls getting the chance to explore the tech industry and know that it is a career option for them. #RepresentationMatters

This event was called Hidden No More: Proud to be Black, but Black is Not All I Am. Hidden Figures recently came out so I assume that, that was the inspiration for the theme. They had a group panel for about an hour where the panelist discussed their path into their current careers and pivotal experiences they shaped them. 

My favorite take away points from the panelist:

"There is no one way to be black..do you" - Ray
"What is being black...other than other people's expectations" - Ray

Dealing with being complacent:

"You can do better!" - Candice

Dealing with microaggressions:

"You have to decide what you want to do in each situation" - Candice
"Some people put their heads down and do the work. My mom, grandma, and so forth did it and there is no shame in it, they built a better path for the next generation..." - Y-Vonne

These resonated with me on so many levels. Ray's comments about being black reminded me that being black is only one piece of who I am, but I am also so many other things. When Candice discussed being complacent I think it was important because I know I felt that way a lot in college and it's a reminder that those feelings my come up again and its important to continue to push myself to do and be the best version of myself. The discussion on microaggressions hit home for me because I've had to deal with this in the workplace before and it was good to know that I am not the only one dealing with these issues and that its okay to 'put your head down' and keep it moving; progress comes in many different forms and I just need to be focused on what I need to do to move forward.

Hearing their positive experiences was a reminder that it is possible to be a black women in the tech industry and it seems that tech industry is aware of the need to improve. Hearing the negative reminded me that there is so much work to be done in terms of diversity and creating welcoming environments for women and people of color. Regardless, it was nice that all the speakers were transparent about their experiences!

I'll definitely be volunteering at another event in the future!