Some time in May 2015, we came up with the idea to find and talk with other women of color in the tech industry.
What originally started out as a single Twitter chat quickly became something greater. The tech community at large responded to our desire to create something for women like us: women in search of opportunities and, perhaps more importantly, a space where we could meet and learn from one another.
Since then, #WOCinTech Chat evolved to an initiative that connected women of color to job opportunities, provided scholarships and free tickets to conferences, and invited women of color technologists to participate in our well-received #WOCinTech photo shoots.
The stock photos put a face to something WOC in tech have been saying for years: "We are already here." We were done with the excuses: it's a pipeline issue and there aren't enough qualified candidates. We didn't want today's problems to be put off to the indeterminate future, when the young girls of color in today's pipeline finally enter the workforce. Because we knew if they were to enter the pipeline in the first place, they deserved to see who looked like them today.
We learned a lot about grassroots organizing and partnering up with different groups as a result of our work. And knowing that sponsorships weren't easy for other like-minded organizations to come by, we wrote an article to help others do the same.
Over the past 20+ months we have been been blessed with opportunities that we couldn't have imagined coming across before. Through #WOCinTech Chat, we have met so many women of color that are doing amazing things, and through the photos of real WOC technologists, have seen visibility increase for us in the media, in startups, in conference talks, classroom presentations, and in brochures and print materials. This goes beyond us.
The time has come for us, however, to say goodbye to this wonderful endeavor. We've reassessed our goals and want to devote time to new and exciting opportunities, but we also want to end #WOCinTech Chat on a high note. As we look to the future, we fully believe that many women of color in not only tech, but all of STEM, will continue to share their brilliance with the world and inspire other women of color to walk down their same paths. While we won't march on under the #WOCinTech Chat banner anymore, it doesn't mean we'll stop the journey. We women of color technologists are still here. We will continue to be here.
#WOCinTech Chat will continue to live on through the photos and the Storified Twitter chats. As of today, we are indefinitely suspending new invites to our Slack community (but the existing community will stay) and our inbox will send out automatic "gone fishing!" replies. Our Twitter handle will remain, as will our website and Flickr account, but they won't be updated. And if you plan on using one of our photos in the future, please attribute them to us; they will continue to be available under a CC-Attribution license.
We want to thank all of the people who made this endeavor possible. Thank you for believing in what this initiative could be and thank you for inspiring us to do better. Thank you to every single person and organization that has used one of our stock images. And thank you to all of the WOC technologists that banded together with us to create this community.
Christina & Stephanie
Founders of #WOCinTech Chat