Kimberly Bryant

Black Girls Code Says No Thank You To $125,000 From Uber

Uber offered BGC a $125,000 grant as part of a $3 million effort to remedy the sexist reputation they've garnered among the tech industry

by Zahara Hill, August 28, 2017

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Kimberly Bryant

Black girls rock... and they code too

Black Girls Code (BGC) founder Kimberly Bryant knows all money ain’t good money. On Thursday, Uber offered the nonprofit geared towards increasing the number of black women in the tech field a $125,000 grant as part of a $3 million effort to remedy the sexist reputation they’ve garnered in the industry. But Bryant refused the offer.

Her decision comes after the Silicon Valley company’s trajectory of sexism and political problematism. In February, former Uber employee Susan Fowler went public with her experiences with sexual harassment at the company. Fowler alleged that her complaints to HR were swept under the rug and even led to taunting from coworkers.

The sexual harrassment allegations further cemented the ride-sharing company’s reputation as a greedy and disreputable corporation. Earlier in February, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick quit Donald Trump’s business council only after public backlash and boycotts ensued over the company’s support of the prejudiced politician. Uber also refused to take part in the taxi boycott during Trump’s widely opposed Muslim ban. Uber used the opportunity to gain more revenue by ridding of surge pricing that day. 

“My decision is layered,” Bryant told TechCrunch. “I’ve been quite open for some time about the fact that we as an org use Uber as a tool. We’re also headquartered in the city [Oakland] where they have planned to move. So I’ve been open to the notion that they can transform themselves. Yet their past history and ‘political’ nature of maneuvering is and was troubling.”

Bryant also took issue with Uber’s $1.2 million donation to Girls Who Code. She feels Uber’s claims of commitment to diversity isn’t reflected in where they choose to put their money.

“[It] seems a bit tone-deaf to really addressing real change in how they are moving towards both inclusion and equity. It appears to be more PR driven than actually focused on real change,” Bryant continued, noting that Uber hardly invests in the city of Oakland, California where they’re headquartered. “So we turned it down.”

 
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