March 24th is Ada Lovelace Day, which is “an international day of blogging to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science.” This day was created in honor of one of the world’s first computer programmers, Ada Lovelace. To learn more about Ada Lovelace Day and the woman herself, you can check out this blog pledge page and Wikipedia. I’m honored to contribute to this day and to acknowledge some unsung heroes that contribute to a field that is oft prone to leaving out women — especially young women and women of color. For this celebration, I want to write a little bit about one of our grant partners, Jahajee Sisters.
Jahajee Sisters is a movement-building organization committed to building solidarity and fostering empowerment of women in the Indo-Caribbean community. They are working to introduce the concept of reproductive justice to young women in their community, and to cultivate the leadership potential of the next generation so they will work for change in the future. As a stepping stone to achieving this, they have held a Young Women’s Summer Leadership Institute, which includes media training for the participants to learn how to effectively use technology to raise awareness of reproductive justice within their community. With these skills, Jahajee Sisters wants their constituents to be able to stimulate dialogue around reproductive health and rights.
I find this organization to be particularly amazing because this is a young organization that recognizes and addresses the needs of a marginalized community. In the 21st century, community organizing techniques have grown immensely to include new technologies for community engagement. I applaud Jahajee Sisters by not ignoring this facet of organizing and empowering their girls by teaching them how to be self-sufficient and learn how to use video on their own to reach justice in their community. They even provide the girls in their programs Flip Cams, giving them equipment which may have been inaccessible for them due to socioeconomic status.
Technology is not just about sitting in front of computers and creating complicated code. We can make technology accessible for all women and use it to bring social change and justice for all.