Google and Cartoon Network have joined forces to empower girls of color to learn coding and computer programming.
The tech giant and cable network collaborated with Black Girls CODE (BGC) for a special event at Turner Broadcasting to inspire girls to explore computer science. The big name brands say they are committed to reaching more kids and inspiring the most diverse, connected, and skilled generation of creators ever.
“What we’re doing here in Atlanta is really diving deep with the black community here, and saying we are here, and we want everybody, every kid to feel like they can code and be a part of our future,” said Julie Ann Crommett, Google Entertainment Industry Educator in Chief in an interview with UrbanGeekz.
“Quite frankly, the next innovation or great idea is probably going to come from somebody sitting in a room like this,” she added. “Google gets excited about that because the entire future of our company is based on the idea that innovation comes from anywhere, and if we’re not cultivating it everywhere, we’re not doing our jobs.”
Nearly 50 students from Black Girls Code attended The Powerpuff Girls-themed Made with Code [Google initiative] coding party. The afternoon began with a pre-screening of ‘Viral Spiral’, a Powerpuff Girls episode that focused on coding. In the episode, Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup work together using computer science to solve a problem and face down a foe.
The initiative also empowered the girls with hands-on coding skills to create their own GIFs using “GIF: The Powerpuff Girls.” Launched by the Cartoon Network at the event, the new GIF’s, which are available for free, are part of CN’s ongoing commitment to promote creative coding through its programming.
The middle school and high school students also had the chance to talk to Cartoon Network animators and executives as well as Google representatives and tech writers about using coding as a stepping-stone to pursue their interests and goals.
The speakers at the event included Christina Miller, President and General Manager for Turner’s Cartoon Network, Adult Swim & Boomerang; Lilyn Hester, Google Public Affairs Manager; Janquell Peters, Mayor of East Point, GA; Katie Krentz, Cartoon Network Senior Director and Comedy Animation Development; and Monica Renneke, Google Engineer.
“The simple answer is reach,” said Miller in response to why Google and Cartoon Network decided to partner on this effort. “Cartoon Network and Google are on the forefront of multimedia content and technology, respectively. As partners, we reach more kids, across multiple platforms, in many different communities giving them access to experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have.”
“Through these experiences, we cannot only change kids’ perception of what it means to be a creative coder, we can simultaneously build their creative confidence,” she added. “It will take many of us, working together, to reach, engage and inspire the next generation of creators.”
“This opportunity is to connect our young ladies here in Atlanta and give them this experience to learn more about coding but also just to see the other women in the room who are STEM professionals or either women of color,” said Donna Bowman, Events and Volunteer Leader for Black Girls Code Atlanta Chapter. “It helps them to really understand that I can do this too.”
The Black Girls Code Atlanta chapter host about six events throughout the year. In April, BCG attended the General Assembly in Atlanta where they built an app in a day. In August they will be able to build a website in one day with their parents.