Black Girl Code was founded in 2018 as a registered student organization that aimed to create a community of Black women at Illinois State University and bring awareness to issues affecting Black women. The current president, Rose Sammons, who has been involved in Black Girl Code since its inception in 2018, sees this organization as a way to bring Black women’s issues to the forefront, because time and time again society puts their problems on the back burner. “We’ve brought attention to so many issues Black women face in our community and society, such as colorism, misogyny, and sexism,” she said. To Sammons, Black Girl Code is “a way for me to have a community of Black women be real with me.”
Black Girl Code hosts a variety of events on campus that center on their pillars of excellence: blissful, leadership, academics, charisma, and kindness (BLACK). Self-care events, including trips to Sky Zone, visits to nail salons, and vision board creating nights, are a way to take the girls minds off school and help them to relax and have fun. Black Girl Code participates in several different community service opportunities as well, including Trick or Treat for Change, the food can drive, and volunteering at the children’s museum. Last year, the group partnered with the University Police to offer a self-defense class, which Sammons and other members were appreciative of.
Another large part of Black Girl Code’s mission is academic excellence. To help foster this, panels featuring graduate students who offer tips to members of the organization are a common occurrence as well as study tables in the library. Sammons also mentioned that Black Girl Code would be partnering with Queens in the Making, a mentorship group on campus for an event about the power of positive self-talk.
Black Girl Code’s march and vigil to honor Black women who were victims of police brutality garnered a lot of publicity and was supported by the chapters of Black Lives Matter in Chicago and Bloomington/Normal as well as Onyx Connect. To further its mission of bringing awareness to social justice issues, Black Girl Code is organizing an end SARS march that will also highlight the violence currently happening in the Congo. The group is also planning a protest on the Proctortrack system. In regard to recreational events, the group will be partnering with the University Program Board for its physically-distanced “The Cars Under the Stars Drive-In Movie Night.”
Rose said that new members fit seamlessly into Black Girl Code, and any interested members can sign up through the portal on RedBird Life.