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Dear Dayton Tech Community,
We are writing you with heavy hearts to let you know we are closing the Dayton Chapter of Girl Develop It. This means that no new events or classes will be organized under the GDI Dayton name by the current leadership.
Recent events have transpired that have broken our trust as local leaders with the Girl Develop It national leadership team. We no longer feel that national leadership and the Board of Directors are truly committed to the values of this organization. Former GDI Program Director Shanise Barona, a black woman, recently spoke on the podcast #causeascene about discrimination and microaggressions that she experienced from members of the HQ team. You can listen to the full podcast episode at hashtagcauseascene.com (https://hashtagcauseascene.com/shanise-barona/).
The podcast also refers to a case of discrimination that occurred in Minneapolis in August, in which a black chapter leader was mistreated and discriminated against by her white chapter co-leaders. Most recently, the Director of Marketing for HQ has resigned, and stated in her resignation announcement that she also experienced discrimination and disrespect during her time with HQ.
Here are some additional links to provide context:
• Chapter Leader resignation due to race and feminism and the way GDI HQ dealt with being called out (https://technical.ly/delaware/2018/10/03/we-need-to-talk-about-why-jocelyn-harper-left-girl-develop-it/)
• Callout of racism in the Minneapolis chapter on Twitter (https://twitter.com/LaniceSims/status/1031284727267962880)
• Additional callout of racist Minneapolis chapter leadership (https://twitter.com/jnessview/status/1032290183650189312?s=21)
• Open letter to the GDI Board written and signed by current and former Chapter Leaders (http://an-open-letter-to-gdi-board.com/)
Throughout these incidents, the GDI national leadership team and Board of Directors have failed to address the underlying cause of these issues—racist and white supremacist attitudes among Girl Develop It leaders who, frankly, have no business running an organization that refers to itself as inclusive. We cannot continue to participate in or advocate for this organization under such a leadership team.
We as former leadership encourage the community to join us in closing operations under the GDI brand. However, we would like to continue the conversation on how to best support the Dayton women in tech community. We’ve renamed our Slack channel to “Dayton Code Together.” Please join us (http://bit.ly/dyt-code-together) there. We will also be hosting a final Q&A event in January with the local Dayton leadership. Details will be announced soon.
We hope that our local events have been positive experiences which have empowered you to learn about and pursue opportunities in tech. We are all available for to talk about what’s happening with GDI and to provide guidance and resources for continued learning. We hope that some of you will be moved to start your own inclusive tech organization, and we offer the Dayton Code Together group as a starting point.
It breaks our hearts to share this news. We still firmly believe in the mission of inclusion, and we are so grateful to you, our community, for supporting us. Please do not let this stop your pursuit of learning. Everybody has a place at the table. Everybody is welcome. Everybody should have the opportunity to learn and grow. Please let us know how we can support you.
Your Dayton Leadership,