For my column this month I talked with Alexis Williams, hot girl in STEM and creator of pb-resources.com, a site full of action items you can take to fight white supremacy. Alexis is a current student at NYU (young), and I went to NYU (old) so even though she is a coding genius and I use a calculator to do 8×8, we had a lot in common.
I first heard about Alexis’ site from a TikTok that was posted on Twitter (Gen Z cusp vibes). I went to it and found an endless source of petitions, reading recs, Gofundmes, and calls I could make. My favorite part of the site is an email generator that pre-writes emails to send to your reps but makes each one a little different so that they can’t be filtered out of an inbox. Using it made me feel like a policymaker, a scientist, and a spy at the same time.
Alexis told me she was inspired to make the site in the wake of the death of George Floyd. She coded the whole site in less than a day, starting at “12, the lunch kind” and posting by 9pm that night. She did it all from her parent’s home in New Jersey, where she’s been quarantining with her family.
“It was so hard for me especially because I grew up in a predominantly white town so I would face microagressions and discrimination all the time, and it felt isolating and lonely. Just being stuck at home and feeling like there was nothing I could do brought me back to that state mentally for a couple days, and I really struggled because I was so emotionally distraught over that feeling of helplessness.”
Alexis turned to coding. A professor once told her “coding gives you the ability to look at any problem and find a solution,” and that’s just what she did. Her site went viral after she made a TikTok about it and it became a resource for anyone looking for a way to be a part of the movement. Not only is the site incredibly useful it’s…pretty.
“My prerogative is always like….first things first it has to be cute. A part of what makes everything I build in computer science me, is that it looks like me, it’s gonna have my aesthetic and just kind of the way that I look at things. Because I know I come to computer science with an interesting and different perspective so everything I build is not going to lose its femininity because of the fact that it’s stem related.”
Alexis’ has great style (I stalked her insta and she has a denim corset dress), and it definitely shines through on the site. We’re both quarantining with our families and agreed that we are regressing, hard. I was like “I’m getting fat from peanut butter it’s high school all over again,” and Alexis was like “I’m literally staring at my prom dress while I do this phone call.” When quarantine is officially over she wants to jet-set to Paris and take a beret picture; my current post-quar goal is to fall down a flight of stairs at my birthday party. We’re also both earth signs (she’s a Taurus, I’m a Virgo), and when I asked her if she had anything to promote she said she wanted to shout out Girls Who Code, Code with Klossy and Black Girls Code.