“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” –Martin Luther King, Jr
I am not black but I am a brown minority co-founder who has worked toward the crucial mission of creating a more equitable world via education.
As a woman of color, I co-founded SmartGurlz and Smart Buddies, an organization dedicated to engaging underserved learners like girls and minorities to STEM. Our mission has been embraced by our amazing black friends and colleagues at BlackGirlsCode, Morrison Mentors, Morgan Stanley’s Multi-Cultural Innovation Lab and Shea Moisture, who recently awarded us an Unsung Business Hero Award.
We understand the systemic and institutional racial structures our black friends and colleagues contend with daily, and we heartily thank them for including us in their community. We restate our continued allyship to the black community in the war against institutional racism.
While our world is currently under turmoil by George Floyd’s murder, this turmoil was only the tipping point in a decades-long striving for racial equality and the elimination of systemic and institutional racism. The propagators of racism are not backing down, and neither will we. Continued racial violence demonstrated recently by George Floyd’s murder highlight that work must be done to abolish institutional racism and we are also committed to doing it.
We at SmartGurlz and Smart Buddies understand the need for meaningful representation. Thus, we do our part to ensure that Black STEM heroes are not just represented in our content, they play important, diverse roles. I am proud to say that our black, female computer genius doll, Zara and her Siggy robot, are the best-sellers in our product line. We have recently launched Zara’s black male counterpart, Theo, who is a scientist and earthquake specialist.
We hope that the diversity of their career interests reminds the black child that they can follow their dreams and be exactly what they want to be. We also hope that these eBooks can help teachers and parents to talk to their young children about bias and prejudice through socio-emotional learning.
As we strive for change today, we also strive for change in the world of tomorrow that our young ones will live in. It is our belief that the next generation can change the world if we let them. Let us let them.
CEO of SmartGurlz