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AfroTech Conference Reveals Black Women’s Paths to Tech Are Legion

Tamisha Segbefia, left, and Mary Appleton chat at AfroTech ‘23’s opening ceremony held at Republic Square Park in Austin, Texas, Nov. 1, 2023. The two were sponsored by Nyamekye Wilson’s Black Sisters in STEM and traveled from the east coast to attend the annual conference. Photo by Katrina L.Spencer/Reporting Texas.

Deejay Jasmine Solano is spinning hip-hop, R&B, soul and funk at the front of ACL Live in Austin. The floor has been cleared of dozens of chairs from serious panel talks from earlier in the week, and now Black people, mostly aged 25 to 45, are two-stepping and doing throwback dances from their teenage years.

Austin doesn’t regularly see this many Black folks – tens of thousands – altogether at once, but it’s AfroTech, in its seventh year, and these entrepreneurs, engineers and tech workers are eager to be together.

Kaporsha Alexander, who lives in St. Louis, is at the back of the room reflecting on the past four days of the tech conference, reviewing what has gone well and what could have been better.  “There’s a lot of Afro, very little tech,” she said of the conference.

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