Lots to see during Black History Month
From the National Gallery to the Big Screen to the DreamBox Board Room
“You can’t be what you can’t see.” Chances are you’ve come across this quote in your travels. It’s attributed to American civil rights activist Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, and a slew of other strong female role models. While there’s no consensus on who said it first, it’s been a recent rallying cry for women — and especially women of color. As Black History Month comes to a close, let’s celebrate and reflect on what finally feels like a tipping point, and pledge to keep the momentum going in our classrooms and beyond.
For young girls of color, there was a lot to see (and potentially be) in February. From the unveiling of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s stunning portrait in the National Gallery to the release of the Ryan Coogler’s epic Black Panther movie, little girls everywhere had the chance to see themselves as powerful leaders and tech-savvy superheroes. The significance of these cultural firsts cannot be overstated.
Even with inspirational new role models to see on movie screens and gallery walls, there’s still a critical shortage of representation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields nationally and across the globe. Our own in-house superhero, DreamBox CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson, recently talked to journalist Anne Branigin at The Glow Up about what it takes to get more black women and girls interested in STEM. As a mentor, education equity advocate, and one of the few black female CEOs in tech, Jessie is on a mission to not only help girls of color reimagine their place in the world, but to unlock the learning potential of every child, “regardless of where they live … or what they look like, or what language they speak.”
Check out Anne Branigin’s engaging interview with our fearless leader to find out how you can foster essential math, tech, and leadership skills in your students and help to raise the next generation of superheroes. Hint: It doesn’t involve a Vibranium suit, but if you’ve got one, go for it.
Finally, Jessie also sat down this month with fellow CEO Tracy Leigh Hazzard for a feature published on Inc.com entitled, Making African American Female Voices Matter in STEAM. Together they compiled a shortlist of five key things young girls of color need to succeed. Spoiler alert: education and a growth mindset figure prominently in the making of future STEAM leaders. Find out what other factors can help create a nurturing environment and set young minds up on a path to success.