Mission Bit is such a unique nonprofit. I don’t think I would’ve ever experienced or seen what I have without them. Mission Bit is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California, dedicated to providing underrepresented students with exposure to Computer Science. Most recently, a team of Student Ambassadors (part of Mission Bit’s Student Advisory Board and a leadership group of high school students from different schools) and I received a #Tech4AllSF campaign grant from the Youth Empowerment Fund with the YMCA of San Francisco.
The grant written this year resonates with Mission Bit’s mission statement and hits close to home.
There are stereotypes in society that label certain People of Color (POC) with limiting industries to pursue careers in. This was beginning to feel all too relatable for me. I could never imagine a day where I could work in the tech industry without the support of trusted adults near me — believing in me.
My name is Johnny Lin, and I’m the President of Mission Bit’s Student Advisory Board. I’m currently a Junior at George Washington High School and an Asian American.
I was first introduced to Mission Bit by Cynthia Chin, the Program Manager at Mission Bit. It was my first week at a new school. The community at Washington was all so new to me. I knew of people from elementary and middle school, but we hadn’t reconnected at that point. Cynthia first caught my attention as she was handing out flyer to a program called “Mission Bit,” but I dodged her! I had never heard of the program before, but from her exclaims of enthusiasm during the lunch rush, it sounded like Mission Bit was a coding program. At that time, I didn’t have much experience with coding or computer science.
On my way back from lunch, I felt bad about dodging Cynthia, so I grabbed the Mission Bit flier. After a conversation with my Program Manager at SEO Scholars, I decided to give Mission Bit a try because coding was something I wanted to learn more about.
The experience went well. There were times in my class where it was awkward, and few people participated, but I took it upon myself to participate and engage with what I was being taught.
I had a great time and got to show off my final project at Mission Bit’s ‘Demo Day’ event in 2019.
Now, present-day May of 2021, in a global pandemic — we wrote this grant intending to disrupt the norm and make it known that POC don’t just exist in the tech industry but can feel represented in it. Helping to create this change is challenging.
Part of our project is a social media campaign aimed at spreading awareness by using the hashtag #Tech4AllSF.
With the power of social media, digital artwork, and an impactful mural on the way — we hope to help change the narrative of who should be represented within tech.
There is still so much work to do to make the tech industry a more diverse space, but we are slowly making progress by putting in the effort today. A passion of mine is to use the power of tech to create a greater change within this world. I can see myself today pursuing a career in tech and creating change using it. Can you?