A pre-teen from Minneapolis is aiming to inspire Black youth to pursue careers in tech by introducing them to the world of robotics, FOX Minneapolis reported.
12-year-old D.J. Comeaux launched an initiative dubbed Afro Bot Boyz in efforts to bring African American youngsters together so that they can exchange ideas and foster partnerships for tech innovation, the news outlet writes. Afro Bot Boyz focuses on robotics, engineering, gaming, and technology education and hosts various meetups and workshops in the Minneapolis area. Participants are aligned with mentors and internships in the tech industry.
Comeaux was inspired to launch his brand after seeing the record-breaking film Black Panther; an ode to Afrofuturism that explored how Black culture and technology are intertwined. “[I was inspired] not by Black Panther the superhero, but his sister Shurie,” he told the news outlet. “She used to create all of the designs and technology so I kind of really like that.” He was also cognizant of the lack of racial representation in STEM and is dedicated to diversifying the field through his initiative. Through Afro Bot Boyz’s logo —which is a cartoon version of himself—he says he wants Black youth to see themselves reflected and hopes to “boost the confidence of people that look like him.”
His mother Kayann Comeaux says an initiative like D.J.’s is imperative to not only spark an interest in tech amongst Black youngsters but to show them that they have the ability to become entrepreneurs in this space. “We support this industry, why are we not supporting them to create and work behind the scenes and create the coding, the tech, and the language to have their own companies?” she told FOX Minneapolis. D.J. is currently gearing up for his Afro Bot Boyz summer meetup.
Several initiatives have been launched nationwide to encourage Black youth to get involved in STEM. Earlier this year, Black Girls CODE teamed up with Lyft to advance diversity in tech.