Innovating the Future at #EssenceFest 2015!

essence fest

 

EPIC is the only way I can describe last week’s historic 10-Day Road to #YesWeCode Bus Tour and Hackathon.

More than 80 students took a road trip with #YesWeCode and Estella’s Brilliant Bus across seven cities before arriving at Essence Festival in New Orleans.

At the TECHJXN Innovation Summit and Hackathon kick off in Jackson, Mississippi, students designed mobile app concepts designed to improve their communities. The top teams pitched their app ideas on the main stage at Essence Festival in front of a panel of judges. One of our celebrity guest judges was singer India Arie

CONGRATS to the grand prize winning team who pitched G.E.C.C. This app crowdsources and reports on local infrastructure issues, such as potholes, so government officials can better address them. In addition to taking home brand new tablet devices, the winners will also receive six months of professional mentorship from a tech firm in New Orleans.

Thank you to our incredible sponsors, partners, supporters, volunteers and students for showing the world, "YES WE CODE." 

Check out our digital recap below and relive the magic >>

- Van

 


MSNBC’s Touré Hopes to Connect Kids in Oakland to Jobs in Silicon Valley

Toure-304-300x197.jpg

MSNBC’s Touré took his afternoon show The Cycle to Oakland for a one-hour live special aimed at connecting young African-American men with the training they need to succeed in high-tech careers. “I love Oakland, it’s a great town,” Touré told TVNewser.

The effort, sponsored by Ford Motor Company, was launched last year and MSNBC hosted another special, Growing Hope Live from Detroit with Joy Reidin March. “It’s extremely important to help steer young people into technology where there’s lots of jobs and opportunity,” said Touré, noting that Oakland presents a unique challenge for young people who live there. “They live so close to Silicon Valley and yet are so far from it unless they get a helping hand. #YesWeCode is trying to make that important bridge.”

A Growing Hope Special: The Cycle Live from Oakland aired Friday, June 19 at 3 p.m. ET. The event served as the kick-off for #YesWeCode and the Hidden Genius Project’s Summer of Innovation Program.

Click to check out the event gallery here.

Watch the full broadcast below:


A Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform

With one in 100 Americans currently incarcerated at costs upwards of $80 billion per year, political leaders from across the political spectrum united for reform. From ALEC and Koch Industries to ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance, the summit served as the launchpad for unlikely alliances in 2015. 

The summit - hosted by Van Jones, Newt Gingrich, Donna Brazile and Pat Nolan - brought together more than 90 speakers to share insights and innovative solutions to our country’s mass incarceration problem.

Hosts.png

Among the speakers were 3 GOP Governors and 10 members of Congress - both Republicans and Democrats - who participated in person or by video.

Featured speakers included: Attorney General Eric Holder, David Simon (The Wire creator), Donna Brazile, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, John Forté (Fugees), Piper Kerman (Orange is the New Black author) and Sen. Cory Booker.

President Obama, himself, even made a cameo — via video.

In a pre-taped interview between he and David Simon, the President talked about the national shift in conversation about prison reform and the real-life inspiration behind "Omar Little,” Obama’s favorite character from the hit show. Watch the full video here.

Did you miss the summit? 

WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED. This is just one of many upcoming bold, bipartisan and high-impact convenings to promote one idea: American can safely and smartly cut our prison population in half over the next 10 years.


#YesWeCode Hackathon in Detroit

yeswecode detroit hackathon 

How do we rev up the technology engine -- so that the Motor City, Detroit, and others like it, can make a strong economic comeback? How can youth leverage technology to solve some of the biggest issues confronting them?

On March 27-28, nearly 100 middle-school students from the greater Detroit area converged at the Ford Research and Engagement Center for a two-day hackathon that explored these questions.

joy reid yeswecode 

Students came up with innovative tech solutions to educational issues including:

  • A virtual report card that can be accessed by students and parents, so they can have a real-time read on student performance

  • An online resource for students who miss class

  • A literacy app that pops up the definition and background of an unknown word a student is reading

  • An app that connects music to mathematics.

The hackathon was co-hosted by #YesWeCode and the Ford STEAM Lab and powered by the Level Playing Field Institute. Thanks to the Ford Motor Co. Fund, each participating school walked away with an award -- with the winning school taking home a $15,000 cash prize!

Our Detroit hackathon highlights what #YesWeCode does best:

  • Communicate: The hackathon saw extensive national coverage, with MSNBC doing a special “Growing Hope in Detroit” documentary. MSNBC commentator, Joy Reid, was on site at the hackathon, to train kids on delivering compelling pitch presentations and to cover the event.
  • Convene: #YesWeCode worked with Ford STEAM Lab and the Level Playing Field Institute to pull together a diverse cross-section of stakeholders committed to connecting youth to opportunities in technology. This includes the Mayor and Chief Technology Officer of Detroit, leaders from the Detroit Public Schools, technology companies, and partner coding education groups.
  • Catalyze: The hackathon gave participating youth an immersive experience designed to expose and excite them about technology. More than developing new technology, our hackathons aim to inspire students with confidence and a new outlook on what’s possible for their lives

Thank you to the students, adult mentors, technologists, sponsors, and #YesWeCode supporters who all made this hackathon a success! For more information, check out our Facebook page or check out our Hackathon Storify.

Or click to see our photo gallery here.

And check out our first national commercial on msnbc:


#YesWeCode at #sxsw

Van Jones maxine Williams Facebook yeswecode sxsw

The Dream Corps team attended its first-ever SXSW Interactive in Austin! 

It was five days of non-stop learning, inspiration and meaningful discussions about diversity in tech and criminal justice reform, thanks to engaging panels featuring our own Van Jones and Shaka Senghor.   

  • Shaka joined a panel of ex-prisoners and advocates for a powerful conversation on the need for criminal justice reform.
  • Van and Maxine Williams, Facebook's Global Director of Diversity, took the stage to talk about #YesWeCode's mission and what Facebook is doing to increase diversity in its workplace.
  • Van also shared the main stage with civil rights hero, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., to discuss pathways for inclusion in tech -- including what the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and #YesWeCode are doing to make change in Silicon Valley.

Check out highlights of our trip on storify. 


#PolicyforJustice at the New School

rebuildnewschool.png

On Feb. 9, Van Jones visited the New School to share his vision for Rebuilding the Dream: Framing Civil Rights for the 21st Century.

The 2015 Henry Cohen Lecture Series, Public Policy in Action, is devoted to advancing social equity in America.  The series examines how public policy serves as a vehicle to advance economic and social inclusion in the context of evolving demographic, economic, and political shifts in America. This series serves as a catalyst for the continuing dialog on the state of social justice in America.

Watch the full video below.

Click to see event gallery.


#cut50 Briefing in D.C. (January 22, 2015)

cory booker and van jones

#cut50 packed the house with political movers and shakers on Jan. 22 in Washington, D.C. to address the critical need for criminal justice reform. Speakers included our own Van Jones, Right on Crime's Vikrant Reddy, Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senator Cory Booker, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Click to see event gallery 


#YesWeCode at Social Good Tech Week SF

social good tech week

Social good organizations deserve the most innovative technologies. That's why Social Good Tech Week will be featuring the coolest technology companies and highlight stories of social good organizations and startups using technology to solve some of the world's most challenging problems.

Get 50% off tickets to Social Good Tech Week from Jan. 27 - Feb.1 Use code: SGTWSPEAKER50.

And you don't even have to be in the Bay Area to participate. There will be plenty of satellite events and workshops for virtual participants. 

Plus, watch #YesWeCode founders Amy Henderson and Cheryl Contee give ignite talks on Friday at the Victoria Theater // 2961 16th St. in San Francisco

Afternoon Ignite Talks (2pm)

  • Jobs for the Future: Using Technology to Empower in the 21st Century Economy, Tess Posner, Managing Director, SamaUSA
  • How Technology is Helping Detroit Get Access to Water, Tiffani Ashley Bell, Founder, Detroit Water Project
  • Useful, Beautiful, Data, Matthew Scharpnick, Elefint Designs
  • Thumbs for Good... How Our Cell Phones Can Advance Social Good // Dominique DeGuzman, Software Engineer, Twilio
  • What I Learned From Kittens, Puppies and Goats About Social Media for Social Goood, Cheryl Contee, Co-Founder, Attentive.ly
  • How Africa's Tech Revolution is Shaping the Next Generation of African Social Entrepreneurs, Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes, CEO & Co-founder of the Akilah Institute for Women
  • How Technology Activated Over a Million Asian Americans at the Ballot Box, Samala, Founder, 18millionRising
  • How #YesWeCode is Using Technology to Transform the Lives of 100,000 Low-opportunity Youth, Amy Henderson, #YeWeCode, Co-founder & Chief Innovation Officer

Check out the full schedule for Social Good Tech Week or buy tickets: http://socialgoodtech.org/


A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. with Dr. Cornel West (January 15, 2015)

To celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 86th birthday, Van Jones spoke with Dr. Cornel West, Professor at Union Theological Seminary and author of Black Prophetic Fire.

Praised by The New York Times for his “ferocious moral vision” and hailed by Newsweek as “an elegant prophet with attitude,” Dr. Cornel West bridges the gap between black and white opinion about the country’s problems. As a leading voice in societal commentary, Dr. West marched in civil rights demonstrations, taught at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton and is currently a professor at Union Theological Seminary. He draws from traditions of Christianity, the black church, Marxism, and neopragmatism. Hear his fiery oration on the past, present and future of race and injustice in the United States in conjunction with the release of his latest book, The Radical King

Watch the conversation below:


#YesWeCode Oakland Gathering (December 15, 2014)

Oakland #YesWeCode gathering

#YesWeCode convened nearly 60 stakeholders from the Oakland Unified School district and local youth and tech organizations to discuss our shared vision to make computer science education accessible for our youth in 2015.

Click to see event gallery.



Donate