The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade--the most recent among a long list of names of Black men and women to die senselessly at the hands of police--have continued to shine a light on the country’s legacy of systemic racism. We are outraged and mourn for the families of these men and women. We strongly support action for police reform, accountability, and the protection of Black lives. We also understand that systemic racism is embedded in every American institution and it will require each of us to work individually and collectively to dismantle systemic racism and build a more equitable future.
At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has also helped reveal these systemic inequities in health, education, and the economy. Black, Latinx, and indigenous people have been at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, are dying at higher rates, are more likely to have lost their jobs, and are more likely to have had their education interrupted due to the lack of technology, wifi, resources, and quality instruction.
CSforCA’s mission to ensure that all of California’s students receive a high-quality computer science education is aiming to address one important aspect of systemic racism in education. This mission weighs on us now more than ever before. Just 479 Black students in California took an AP CS course in 2019 and schools serving predominantly students of color are 4x less likely to even offer an AP CS course. Within our scope of work, we must ensure that the students who have historically had less access to high-quality instruction, to rigorous coursework, to technology, are the students that we intentionally work to provide access to the very computing skills to prepare them for college, careers, and community engagement. By improving equity in CS education, we not only open the door to profitable job opportunities for students of color, and economic mobility for communities of color, but also increase representation and improve the development and innovation of technologies to improve our society.
While our work only tackles one piece of the larger systemic racism plaguing our country, it’s important to remember that for concrete change to occur, we must take action against all inequities in our current system.
Here are some concrete actions that CSforCA will be prioritizing to create change. We call on other leaders in the computing space--organizations and individuals--to do so as well:
Together, let’s demand action and accelerate change--both in ourselves and our institutions.