This editorial article is a part of Technical.ly's Technologists of Color Month of our editorial calendar.
Elizabeth Lindsey, executive director of tech-inclusion nonprofit Byte Back, was recognized on the 2019 edition of The Root 100, an annual list celebrating the online magazine’s picks of the most influential African Americans of the year.
The Root recognizes leaders who work in the arts, community, business, entertainment, media, politics, sports and STEM sectors.
“I was so thrilled when I found out that I started shaking and almost crying,” Lindsey shared as she described the moment she learned about her recognition. “It’s one of the absolute proudest moments of my entire life, being on The Root 100 with people who I love and admire so much — Marcus Bullock of Flikshop, Serena Williams, Stacey Abrams, Lizzo, Janelle Monae, and most of all, the number one inspiration of my life for the past 15 years, Beyoncé Knowles Carter. It is absolutely amazing.”
What do @Beyonce, Meghan Markle, Stacey Abrams and @elindse1 have in common? THEY'RE @TheRoot 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL AFRICAN AMERICANS of 2019! We're so excited for our Exec Director!!! https://t.co/T0TWMciqbE pic.twitter.com/Rl62AXWrQ3
— Byte Back (@We_ByteBack) September 26, 2019
Lindsey describes Byte Back as an organization offering free tech training and career preparation to adults left behind by advancing technology. She has been leading the nonprofit since 2015, and in her tenure so far, Byte Back has had much success.
Last October, Byte Back won a $775,000 grant from TD Bank and it used the funding to expand to Baltimore. The nonprofit didn’t waste any time getting the ball rolling on expansion, hiring Chrissie Powell back in March as its Baltimore site director and beginning its first round of classes in June. Byte Back is temporarily working out of space at the Digital Harbor Foundation in Federal Hill.
Lindsay said one of her proudest moments leading the nonprofit includes its celebration of the expansion at its Baltimore Launch Party on Wednesday.
“Today, we have enrolled 39 adult job-seekers in Baltimore and we’ll serve 75 Baltimore residents by the end of the year,” she told Technical.ly. “I’m so excited to lead this amazing organization and to expand our impact and help dozens and hundreds more people find their path into tech and the opportunities they deserve.”
In July, the nonprofit also won $100,000 as part of Oakland, California-based Kapor Center’s inaugural $1 million Tech Done Right Challenge grant competition. Byte Back also has various partnerships with organizations including D.C.-based nonprofit The Saylor Academy to offer a free pathway to college credits and UiPath, to allow underserved people the opportunity to land a job using robotics process automation.
Lindsey took to Twitter to express her gratitude even more for making The Root’s list:
One of the proudest moments of my life. I still am in shock that I am on the #root100 list with so many incredible people, especially my inspiration @Beyonce. Thank you to all of the supporters of @ByteBackDC and our work in bringing equity to the digital economy. https://t.co/AIafrGS0q4
— Elizabeth Lindsey (@elindse1) September 26, 2019
Some other notable local leaders who made the list include:
- Ibram X. Kendi, author and founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University
- Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Clarke helped the first African American female student body president of AU win a $725,000 settlement from the publisher of a neo-Nazi website who was targeting her.
- Marcus Bullock, an entrepreneur and app developer helping incarcerated people through the social media platform he created called Flikshop
- Kezia Williams, CEO and founder of Black upStart, a program that supports and trains young African American entrepreneurs who want to start a small business
- Karen Attiah, global opinions editor at the Washington Post; This year, Attiah received the esteemed Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
- Adam Serwer, staff writer at The Atlantic
- Tiffany Cross, cofounder and managing editor of The Beat DC, a news outlet that focuses on covering the intersection of politics, policy and people of color
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