Black Girls Code opens first office in New York

First to ever do it: Minerva Tantoco, the first ever chief of technology officer for New York City, talks history and the changing demographics in the technological field.
Harrison Steg

Black girls can code in New York City — in the same building as one of the leading technology companies in the world.

The Oakland-based technology organization, Black Girls Code, celebrated the opening of their New York City office at Google’s headquarters on June 29 in Manhattan.

It is the second office location in the country for the organization, which has been operating since 2011. Teenage girls from all over New York City came to see the new office. Some were even more than excited about the building it was located in.

“I’m really excited because Black Girls Code is moving into Google,” said Olivia Ross of Queens. “And the offices are really pretty.”

Local political leaders from all over New York City attended to celebrate the event, including the first ever Chief Technology Officer for New York, a former tech company owner who talked about her experience as a woman of color in technology, and how the city plans to change that.

“In those 30 years — I noticed there were fewer women — fewer women of color running companies,” said Minerva Tantoco, chief technology officer of New York. “We’re focused on closing that tech divide. We believe that New York City’s future lies in being the most diverse and inclusive tech community in the world.”

The mission of Black Girls Code is to introduce programming and technology to young teenage girls of color, an underrepresented group in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The organization’s founder, Kimberly Bryant, aims for more growth at chapter events, for more location openings. She also says having a physical space and the opportunity to build outside of the San Francisco Bay Area is a different feeling.

“We’re really excited because we’ve been doing workshops in New York since 2012,” said Bryant. “We actually have a space, an actual space — it’s a big blessing.”

Bryant praises Google for showing their support for diversity in technology, rather than just talking about it.

“To see our program end up at Google — it is truly a blessing,” said Bryant. “This is the first office based in New York City and we have a huge opportunity to build a team outside of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]
First let’s take a pic: Assemblyman Michael Blake, takes a group photo with a table of girls, at Google’s headquarters in Manhattan on June 26.
Harrison Steg

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