Celebrating Women's History Month
Imani Butler, a sophomore at Tuskegee University, is a young Black woman and MFEI scholar who holds a clear vision for her future: She confidently knows she will be a tech industry pioneer and community leader dedicated to giving back to her West Oakland home. Her dream is to be economically successful via a career in either a large tech company or by building her own tech startup. With her success, Imani’s goal is to one day buy land to farm, and share her wealth back with West Oakland through supporting tech education for young girls of color. Propelled by her desire to make a significant impact in her community and strengthen her voice as an advocate for change and a leader in her industry, in the summer of 2017 Imani took on internships positions at both MFEI as the WPX intern and liaison to the Bay Area Breaking the Silence Committee, and at Oakland Unite - a public safety program focused on reducing violence in Oakland communities.
Throughout her time at MFEI, Imani always had her finger on the pulse of how she and her peers engage with technology, and she lent this perspective with her tech expertise to her work for WPX. By the end of her internship she developed a proposal for how MFEI can build and better utilize digital platforms to foster community and collaboration among our scholars and connect them to outside programs and opportunities. MFEI is now in early design stages to build and test key ideas for virtually engaging and supporting scholars from her proposal.
It was Imani’s unapologetic voice and clear vision for change that garnered the greatest awe and gratitude from MFEI and the members of the Bay Area Breaking the Silence Town Hall Committee. For MFEI, Imani expedited the redesign of the language and tools of “improvement science” used with the scholars at RESET Vol. 2. She imprinted upon the event a youth-centered voice that shone through in everything from the instructional documents to the social media used. As one of the youngest members of the Bay Area Breaking the Silence Town Hall Committee, Imani presented candid feedback for how the committee of esteemed Oakland community leaders could better incorporate and support youth in the Town Hall.
Her experiences with the committee, along with other research she conducted, informed the WPX report she produced, outlining recommendations for MFEI to further cultivate leadership our young women of color scholars: from building a sisterhood to supporting travel and other activities to inspire greater ideation and ambition among young women of color. Imani remains an inspiration to the organization in her continued studies at Tuskegee, and we are honored to celebrate her talent, skill and passion for 2018’s Women’s History Month.