Recently, I got the chance to work with Oakland based organization Hack the Hood (HTH) on multiple illustrations for an internal document showcasing how they help young empower, attract, and retain youth of color in tech companies. Who is HTH? A dope tech based organization run by Susan Mernit and Zakiya Harris in Oakland California. I am extremely honored to work with them and so happy to help contribute to their success and the amazing work they do.
With the help of organizers, techies, teachers, activists, and students HTH is bringing young people of color into the tech world where their talent and presence are severely underrepresented. It was just three or four years ago that folks like Tracy Chou helped to get huge tech companies to release their diversity numbers. And when they did the picture that most poc already know became more clear; the world of tech is primarily white and male. News outlets like Wired, NY Times, The Guardian, Time, Fortune, Pbs, NPR, and more have written about the problem which not only ignores poc, but marginalizes women, and privileges white males. The bigger companies have vowed to do better, but their hiring, funding, and employee retention practices are not changing fast enough.
Organizations like Hack the Hood, Black Girls Code, Code 2040, Qeyno Labs, The Hidden Genius Project, Game heads, and a few others stopped waiting and started local and national programs to bring in the young people that these companies claimed did not exist or that they could not find. HTH is making paths to employment, wealth, upward mobility, innovation, and power that I wish I had as a kid. I’m emotionally ecstatic that they exist!
These are just some of the many illustrations I completed for HTH, but what they are essentially doing is demonstrating why tech companies must approach finding, working, with, and keeping youth of color differently. Inherent in this is the fact that youth of color come to the table with different cultural practices, knowledge, challenges, and values. Want to get involved? I thought so! GO HERE.
And please watch videos about their young scholars on youtube!
BIG thank you to Susan, Zakiya for bringing me in.