Patrice Banks is working to bring women of color into the auto industry and counter the silence coming from the industry over the Black Lives Matter protests, writes Courtney Duchene for thephiladelphiacitizen.org.
Banks, a Black woman, is a mechanic and the 2017 founder of the Girls Auto Clinic in Upper Darby.
“I struggled a lot when I first joined the industry because I wasn’t accepted. I was an outsider, I was a Black woman and I was very bold in what I wanted to do,” Banks says. “There just weren’t people that looked like me, and it was lonely.”
The auto industry is populated by whites—90 percent of repair shop employees and 70 percent of dealership employees are white.
Banks called for justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor on the Girls Auto Clinic Instagram account.
She also began texting other women of color she’d met at industry conferences.
This month, Banks and others founded the nonprofit Women of Color Automotive Network (WOCAN).
It connects women of color with auto industry mentors and resources.
Bank’s own repair shop is staffed with female mechanics and caters to women customers.
Read more about efforts underway to get more women into the car repair business here.