This post was originally published on Afro

By Megan Sayles

Only about 2% of all science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers are held by Black women. 

Philadelphia native Atiyah Harmon is on a mission to exponentially increase this number with her organization, Black Girls Love Math (BGLM), which helps Black girls build confidence in mathematics through cooperative competition, career mentoring, and deep mathematical inquiry. 

“I wanted to create a space for those who identify as Black girls to feel comfortable in the duality of their identity, so both be a lover of math and still be a confident Black girl,” said Harmon. 

BGLM was established in June 2020, but Harmon, who worked in education for 20 years, conceived the idea for the organization the year prior. 

Harmon and a friend were discussing their frustrations with the poor representation of African-American young women in mathematics. They noticed that often the girls would have an interest in arithmetic until about 6th or 7th grade, and then, they would turn away from the subject. 

The friend casually commented: “Black girls love math,” and it resonated with Harmon. That night, she drafted a blueprint for an organization that would embody the phrase.

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