Mother-daughter duo Claudia Walker and London Walker are working together for the greater good of children.
The ABCs of Cybersecurity
Visit To The White House
The book, with illustrations from Dissirama Laurencia, was prompted by an invitation to the White House earlier this year by the Office of the National Cyber Director. The office had caught wind of Claudia’s series of books, including “The ABCs of HBCUs” and “The ABCs of Black Wall Street,” which had landed in Target stores.
Former Wall Street analyst and HBCU Prep School founder Claudia, along with her 15-year-old daughter, high school student London, accepted the invitation to attend a White House roundtable pertaining to the state of cybersecurity in the Black community in February 2023.
“I really consider myself pretty low tech, but the more that I learned about the need and the work that was being done, not only from the White House initiative, but just by other partner organizations, I recognized that there was such a need,” Claudia told AFROTECH. “So, my daughter and I took a trip to the White House in February, we took part in the roundtable discussion, and that really energized us.”
London added, “Sitting at this roundtable and you have all these prominent figures of cybersecurity around you, and you’re the youngest person, it was really amazing to know that my opinion was valued. I was talking about the way that cybersecurity isn’t taught to teenagers. I have a computer I use for school, and I’ve never been taught how to stay safe on the internet. That’s never something that my school has told me.”
She continued, “That goes into why this project is so important to us, it’s because it’s really important for children to know that the internet is such an amazing tool, but there are downsides to it because everybody has access to it, and some people don’t always have the best intentions with the internet. It was so important to us that children, especially Black children, knew how to navigate the internet safely, but also be able to use it to their advantage.”
The vision behind “The ABCs of Cybersecurity” book helped the Oakland, CA-based authors build partnerships with such organizations as Blacks in Cybersecurity, and #ShareTheMicInCyber, a movement aimed to bring attention to the systemic racism in cybersecurity, its website mentions.
“There were so many different stakeholders that were at the table when we announced at the White House that we were committing to writing the book on cybersecurity,” Claudia shared. “There were partners there that said, ‘Hey, we’ll be willing to share our insight to talk to you and kind of coach you through the development.’ So, once we left and came back to California and did our research, we then reached out to different organizations that said, ‘Give us a call,’ and they were able to help us refine the content. They were able to help us figure out what some of the key concepts were in the industries that we should be highlighting.”
Highlighting Changemakers In Cybersecurity
In the book, separately from the safety measures around internet use, readers will find changemakers in cybersecurity including Camille Stewart Gloster, Deputy National Cyber Director, Technology & Ecosystem Security, White House Office of the National Cyber Director, and 13-year-old Elijah Muhammad, who became the youngest Black individual to obtain a college degree in computer science and cybersecurity, as AFROTECH previously told you.
“We want young people to see themselves reflected in the book and just to know that the possibilities just like technology are endless,” Claudia mentioned.
What’s more, the children’s book will be accompanied by a cybersecurity game titled ‘Hackman,’ which will provide a different medium to energize readers. By scanning a QR code located on the back of the book, readers will be directed to the game.
The idea was inspired by Claudia’s two sons, whom London shares are avid gamers.
“I have two younger brothers who are completely addicted to their Nintendo switches,” London explained. “So, I think that part of having this literary piece of work might not always be what they want to focus on. That’s where this game aspect came from, to give another interactive portion of learning about cybersecurity, especially because the game is on the internet, and it reinforces a lot of what is already in the book about staying safe on the internet, what you should do and what you shouldn’t do, and pairs that with kids being able to succeed or maybe not do as well in the game based off of the decisions they make.”
Claudia added, “I hope that children can see themselves in cyber. I hope that they feel that by reading the book or interacting with the game that they feel like they can take ownership of their learning and their technology.”