Girl Develop It Accused of Racism Toward Black Web Developers
Multiple chapter leaders of the tech education nonprofit in cities across the county, many of them allies, stepped down in protest.
Chapter leaders of Girl Develop It, a national tech education nonprofit, in Wilmington, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Atlanta, and Oakland, among other cities, have stepped down because of diversity and inclusion negligence.
The latest: Philadelphia's chapter leader, Susan Nieman, who resigned with an open letter on Tuesday:
"With no substantive change, this organization will continue along the same path: harming the marginalized people that they claim to be supporting and devaluing the mission statement, which harms the entire community. I cannot continue to support or promote an organization that fails to address issues of institutional racism with the sense of urgency that these matters deserve."
Girls Develop It has apologized for the incidents. And, Corinne Warnshuis, the executive director, who is white, said the organization founded to help marginalized people still does so.
The board's chair and co-founder, Vanessa Hurst, resigned in December in light of the controversy, as the board released this statement:
"There have clearly been some misses with how GDI has handled issues regarding race and racism. As Board members, we are ultimately responsible for how everyone is treated in the GDI community, and in that capacity, we would like to issue a sincere apology to anyone who was harmed or hurt by racism they experienced while involved with Girl Develop It."
Women and people of color are still the most shunned populations in STEM careers, especially in Silicon Valley.
Girl Develop It was supposed to be fighting for change.
An incident heard around the organization in Minneapolis about three Black women being disrespected and ignored when they asked for better inclusion practices, has shaken its membership and leadership structure.
Shanise Barona, an Afro-Latina Philadelphia-based former staffer of the nonprofit's national staff, went on the podcast #causeascene last month to talk about diversity in tech, and said she felt "degraded" speaking up about issues she saw in the organization. She cited the Minneapolis example when saying the organization was doing nothing about diversity concerns.
Following her podcast, over 150 current and former chapter leaders, students, and volunteers signed an online open letter condemning leadership:
"You now have a choice: you can show your community (and the world) how leadership can empower women through actions and demonstrate what it looks like when true leadership embraces all of its community," the letter states. "Or you can ignore your community and continue down a path to an untrustworthy and uncertain future."
Warnshius apologized back then, and she's still apologizing now.
Forty-two percent of its chapter leaders are women of color. One of them, Jocelyn Harper, resigned this past fall from the chapter she led in Wilmington and openly criticized the nonprofit's response in late September to the Minneapolis situation.
"I'm glad that GDI is being called out and being held accountable," she said.
But she thinks that the Black women who spoke up, herself included, were "collateral" for the nonprofit's recent lessons:
"It always seems that change has to come at a cost to the marginalized in one way or another."
Many in the organization have continued to post their disgust on social media:
On another note, I was the chapter leader that @shanisebarona mentioned in @KimCrayton1 podcast. This happened in August, and since then I have literally learned of *at least* 1-2 new offensive things EVERY MONTH that @girldevelopit has done to POC involved.
— Chelsey@JSConfHi (@TechChelsey) December 5, 2018
They have done a terrible job of being inclusive, being involved with the community, and providing a safe space for POC.
— Lanice Sims (@LaniceSims) August 19, 2018
Recent events have broken our team's trust in @girldevelopit leadership. For these reasons, we are putting the Oakland chapter on hiatus for the foreseeable future.
These events are as follows (thread):
— Formerly GDI Oakland (@GDIOak) December 9, 2018
Ana Alvarez, a substitute teacher, asked the student why he continues to live in the U.S., "if it's so bad here."
"I've got a message for all of the women and girls like mine who have to deal with garbage like this every day: I've got your back," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) gave her first annual address to the state on Tuesday focusing on infrastructure, education and bipartisanship to reach effective solutions. But a local TV station chose to focus more on Whitmer's curves in her dress. It's "a cheap, sexist and indefensible shot at a strong woman in leadership," said State Democratic Party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes.
"It's unconstitutional to detain people just because of their language, accent, or color of their skin," says the ACLU.
Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez, American-born Latinas, are suing US Custom and Border Protection (CBP) officers for racial profiling.
They were detained at a gas station convenience store in Havre, Montana, last year, by an officer who asked the women where they were born after hearing them speak Spanish.
"Lynching is a dark, despicable part of our nation's history and I'm hopeful this measure will swiftly pass the House," Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted.
It's 2019 and lynching still hasn't been properly outlawed. A bill, introduced by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), was cleared on Thursday in the Senate to make lynching a federal crime. The measure will now go to the House. Harris, Booker and Scott are the only Black members of the Senate.
Harris tweeted on Thursday:
BREAKING: Our anti-lynching bill, which would make lynching a federal crime, just unanimously passed the Senate. Lynching is a dark, despicable part of our nation's history and I'm hopeful this measure will swiftly pass the House.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 14, 2019
It's outrageous that lynching still isn't considered a federal crime. Congress tried and failed near 200 times between 1882 to 1986. About to ask the Senate to unanimously pass our anti-lynching bill. Let's right this wrong.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 14, 2019
Congress has tried more than 200 times to pass an anti-lynching law, but has failed. The Senate passed a resolution in 2005, apologizing to lynching victims.
The bipartisan bill acknowledges the harms of lynching, which is a form of domestic terrorism, and the federal government's failure to stop it.
It defines the crime as "the willful act of murder by a collection of people assembled with the intention of committing an act of violence upon any person."
In December, the Senate also passed the bill. But it was days before the 115th Congress went out of business, and the measure never reached the House floor.
"It's not the first time we've come down to this body to try to right the wrongs of history," Booker said on the Senate floor.
"For too long we have failed, failed to ensure justice for the victims of history and failed to make clear in the United States of America, in this great country, lynching is and always has been not only a federal crime but a moral failure."
According to the NAACP, "From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States."
"Of the total, 3,446 of the victims were Black, accounting for approximately 72.7 percent; and 1,297 were white, which is 27.3 percent."
"These numbers seem large, but it is known that not all of the lynchings were ever recorded," the organization stated.
Wisconsin GOP Lawmakers Call Kaepernick 'Controversial' and Remove His Name From Black History Resolution
"Beyond outrageous that we, as the Legislative Black Caucus, had to get the permission of our white colleagues to pass our Black History Month resolution," tweeted Rep. Shelia Stubbs.
Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick is so "controversial" to GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin that they refused to include his name in a resolution to honor prominent Black Americans during February. But for members of the Legislature's Black caucus, Kaepernick, who was born in Wisconsin, is anything but controversial.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was the first NFL player in 2016 to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Kaepernick, along with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and baseball legend Reggie Jackson, are some of the more than two-dozen names suggested by the Black caucus to include in the resolution.
Republicans refused to support a resolution naming Kaepernick "for obvious reasons," Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna said during a news conference on Tuesday. He added, "Colin Kaepernick is obviously a controversial figure."
Steineke and others in the GOP are following the lead of the head of their party, who has called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem "sons of bi***es."
Kaepernick is currently pursuing a grievance against the NFL. He claims that ever since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in early 2017, team owners and executives have colluded to keep him out of the league.
Wisconsin Republicans initially blocked the Black caucus' resolution. But then they amended it to delete Kaepernick's name on a 61-34 party-line vote. Democrats had to decide whether to go against their own resolution or accept it without Kaepernick. They wound up agreeing to remove his name, and the state Assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday.
For the second year in a row, the Republicans, who are all white, in the Wisconsin Legislature objected to how Black lawmakers wanted to honor — Black History Month.
One of the Black lawmakers who authored the resolution, Democratic Rep. David Crowley of Milwaukee, called the incident "a textbook example of white privilege."
Wisconsin's population is 87.3 percent white, a much less diverse population than average.
Crowley also said that Kaepernick, who is a philanthropist, was included, in part, because he gave a $25,000 donation to a nonprofit for teens in Milwaukee called Urban Underground.
Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison) tweeted on Tuesday:
Beyond outrageous that we, as the Legislative Black Caucus, had to get the permission of our white colleagues to pass our Black History Month resolution. We still stand with @Kaepernick7 https://t.co/Yt4eczrO2F
— Shelia Stubbs (@RepStubbs) February 12, 2019
State Sen. Lena Taylor said on Wednesday, that she would offer an amendment to include Kaepernick to the resolution.
.@SenTaylor tells @CBS58 she will be request the Senate to amend the #BlackHistoryMonth resolution to include the name of Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7). The Assembly passed the resolution yesterday that took out any mention of Kaepernick. The Senate takes it up this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/q7lC8OS3RC
— Victor Jacobo (@victorjacobo_) February 13, 2019
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