Celebrating Black History Month: Meet the African American tech leaders who are working to close the Digital Divide for minorities in America
Nashville, TN (February 4, 2022) - To kick off Black History Month, Connected Nation wants to recognize two African American technology leaders and entrepreneurs who have made it their mission to connect minority communities across the country.
The Digital Divide has been an issue for many Americans since the early days of the internet, and that’s been especially true in communities of color. Digital inclusion continues to be a hard problem to solve, but the dynamic leaders interviewed for this article have put their lives' work into connecting African Americans and other minority groups in the United States.
Doug McCollough, CEO of Color Coded Labs, Co-founder of Black Tech Columbus, and Chief Information Officer of the city of Dublin, Ohio, is passionate about digital inclusion and improving digital literacy for people of color.
“Our entire society is becoming more digital,” said McCollough. “When you look at history and developments in technology, we have always seen the attitude that innovations are the privilege of those who can afford it. Bridging this Digital Divide does not take major changes. It just takes expanding broadband and giving our community some knowledge — sharing resources with families and individuals that can then help people improve their lives.”
McCollough's organizations provide unique benefits and opportunities for minorities that may not be found elsewhere. Black Tech Columbus does everything from holding youth hack-a-thons, to teaching kids what they can do with technology, to hosting events that explain blockchain, to helping big companies establish better recruiting relationships with communities of color. McCollough’s newest venture, Color Coded Labs, finds, trains, and sets people of color up at companies that are ready to innovate on a greater scale.
Tech entrepreneur, Kimberly Bryant, Founder of Black Girls Code, also devotes her time to helping minorities access opportunities they may have never had before.
In a podcast with FCC Commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, Bryant discussed what motivated her to start her business, and how it helps young girls of color.
“I decided to found Black Girls Code in 2011,” said Bryant. “It was a personal motivation for my daughter, Kai, who was growing up at that time right before my eyes, and becoming a true techie or ‘digital native’ that was active in computer science, and finding that it was a love for her. I wanted to create a community of other girls that were geeky and into gaming and robotics that could nurture this love for technology and science that she was starting to discover.”
Bryant went on to describe her company as an “concept of bringing girls, ages seven to 17, together for a variety of workshops, after-school experiences where they could learn anything from how to build a game, how to build a website, how to build a mobile app, robotics, etc.”
Black Girls Code has become a pathway for young women of color to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders and creators.
Here at Connected Nation, we applaud and support these outstanding entrepreneurs and leaders. Their companies provide more than just connectivity resources for African Americans, but also hope for a better future.
More about Black History Month, Doug McCollough, and Kimberly Bryant:
- Meet the man who is expanding digital inclusion to communities of color
- A conversation with the founder of Black Girls Code