The Platform Summit is not just a conference, it’s an experience. You will not just be educated, you will be moved. You will cheer. You may cry. You will meet luminaries and people who will one day be luminaries. You will be overwhelmed, and yet energized by opportunity. You will wish it was longer and yet be excited to return home to share your extraordinary experience.
About Platform: Platform is a community of people who believe that the worlds of technology, science, art and entrepreneurship are the future of the planet, and that people from across all social, cultural, ethnic and gender groups should be a part of the revolution.
On July 4th weekend, #YesWeCode made history when it officially launched at Essence Festival – the largest gathering and celebration of African Americans on the planet. The launch included the debut of a robust facebook-designed search tool on yeswecode.org, a tech village featuring 15 coding and tech organizations from all over the country (including Facebook and Google) and the first-ever hackathon at the Essence Festival.
During Friday’s sold-out Prince concert, the Purple Highness himself gave #YesWeCode a shout-out on stage to more than 50,000 people.
Click to see event gallery
It was a weekend that literally hacked the culture of Silicon Valley. More than 50 young black males (ages 13-20) participated in StartUp Weekend Oakland’s first Hackathon celebrating Black Male Achievement hosted by Qeyno Labs and Impact HUB Oakland.
These young people teamed up with business leaders, innovators, coders, and community activists from an array of diverse backgrounds to collaborate and create apps and programs focused on community problem solving. Teams were tasked with designing new technology that would tackle the following important issues: Education, Health, Restorative Justice, Gaming, and Sustainability.
Click to see event gallery ( Please credit: Photo credit: Adam Turner)
When #YesWeCode officially launched at Essence Festival last year, we hosted the festival's first-ever Tech Village and Youth Hackathon. Over those three days, we met and were inspired by thousands of people from all over the country who believed in our vision to change the face of tech in America.
We're thrilled to be going back! And this time... we're getting there in style.
We’re going on a road trip with Estella’s Brilliant Bus and taking 80 bright students along for the ride!
We’ll be making stops in seven cities across the South to tour local cultural heritage landmarks, historical civil rights sites and historically black colleges and universities. We will also engage in various hands-on tech activities. Take a peek at the full list of activities here.
During this 10-day digital freedom ride, #YesWeCode and Estella’s Brilliant Bus will combine computer programming skills with on-the-go entrepreneurship training for the students through Mobile App Development and the Basics of Tech Entrepreneurship. It'll be equal parts learning, innovation and fun!
Before reaching our final destination in New Orleans, we'll make an important stop in Jackson, Mississippi. There students will take part in the TECHJXN Innovation Summit and #YesWeCode Hackathon. They’ll pitch and brainstorm ideas to create app prototypes with help from leading technologists and designers. And, the entire state of Mississippi, including the governor, will greet the bus-riders as part of their tech town hall exploring the state's innovation economy.
The teams with the best ideas will have a chance to present them LIVE on the Essence Festival Main Stage!
This life-changing tour will cover 7 cities in 10 days!
- Get Tickets to the The TECHJXN Innovation Summit on June 30 in Jackson, MS. Please note that we are selling tickets for the innovation summit event only. For details about participating in the #YesWeCode hackathon, please visit techjxn.com. If you have questions about either event, contact Rhea Williams-Bishop at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Support The Road to #YesWeCode road trip with Estella's Brilliant Bus here.
- Visit us at Essence Festival on July 3-5 in New Orleans, CA. Come stop by our booth in the New Orleans Morial Convention Center.
*Check out some #YesWeCode photos from last year's Essence Festival on Facebook.Read more
The White House
“I’m proud to join the students, teachers, businesses, and non-profit organizations taking big new steps to support computer science in America’s schools. Learning these skills isn’t just important for your future – it’s important for our country’s future. If we want America to stay on the cutting edge, we need young Americans like you to master the tools and technology that will change the way we do just about everything.”
-- President Obama, December 2013, on Computer Science Education Week
Last year, to kick off Computer Science Education Week, President Obama issued a call to action to students, teachers, businesses, foundations, and non-profit organizations to join the growing grassroots campaign to support computer science education in K-12 schools.
The President encouraged Americans from all backgrounds to get involved in mastering the technology that is changing the way we do just about everything, and he encouraged millions of students to learn the skills that are becoming increasingly relevant to our economy.
Commitments Being Announced Today: Broadening Diversity in Computer Science
Improving the participation and success of women and underrepresented minorities in computer science is critical. The number of women completing college degrees in these fields has decreased over the last two decades, and a smaller percentage of U.S. high school students take computer science courses than they did two decades ago. Today, less than 20 percent of students enrolled in AP computer science courses are women or girls, and less than 10 percent are Hispanic or African-American. Furthermore, less than 20 percent of college graduates in computer science are women. A number of leading organizations are taking new steps to address this challenge, including:
- The USA Science and Engineering Festival will launch a prize for computer science classroom design. The USA Science and Engineering Festival is announcing a classroom-design prize competition that will launch on January 5, 2015. Research has shown that small changes in classroom design elements can dramatically affect the attractiveness of computer-science courses to girls. The competition will engage teams of high school students around the country to create cost-effective and innovative designs for K-12 computer science classrooms that encourage more young women to study computer science and pursue careers in STEM. The competition will run throughout spring 2015, and the most innovative ideas will be awarded with cash prizes. Some of the prize winners will be considered for further in-classroom testing and potential deployment in classrooms around the country. The entries for the competition will be student-driven, and the design of the competition was led by the Youth Advisory Board to the USA Science and Engineering Festival in partnership with the Dell Youth Innovation Advisors.
- A new nationwide initiative to engage Latinas in technology careers. Latinas represent the fastest-growing female population in the U.S. Including their perspectives and talent in information technology is vital to growing our innovation economy. In collaboration with major Latino community influencers and organizations, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is launching a nationwide initiative to engage Latinas in computing and technology careers. NCWIT will leverage its research capabilities and national network of partners to design and launch a national media campaign and supporting program to give Latinas the inspiration to explore technology careers, the resources to engage in computer science, and connections to computer science support networks. Central to this initiative will be strategies to engage Latino parents, families, and influencers in supporting Latinas’ pursuit of technology education and careers. The project will launch on January 20, 2015 with a working roundtable of Latino leaders who will inform messaging and support the implementation of the campaign.
- #YesWeCode expands efforts to more youth from under-represented communities into coding.#YesWeCode, a national initiative of Dream Corps Unlimited to support the movement to train 100,000 low opportunity youth to become high-level computer programmers, is announcing that it will host a series of 4-6 youth-focused hackathons in key cities in 2015 including in New Orleans, Detroit, and Oakland. At these hackathons, local youth will team up with professional developers, innovators, designers and mentors to create apps to benefit their communities. This will complement #YesWeCode’s efforts to incubate a national job-training pipeline in Oakland, in partnership with the public school district, major tech employers, independent grassroots coding education groups, and other major community stakeholders. The job-training three-step pipeline is designed to guide youth from introductory coding programs, to immersive job-training programs, and eventually into employment. Once fully realized in Oakland, the plan is to replicate nationally.
On November 17-19, 2014, policy makers, experts, and other key decision makers from more than 30 states met to discuss the past, present, and future of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). The event was co-hosted by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center. Click here to read more.
With Republican majorities coming in both houses of Congress and a Democrat in the White House, many people in Washington believe nothing will get done. We'd like to nominate an exception to that expectation: Criminal justice reform.
Newt has talked about the need for "confidence-building measures" between the President and Republicans in Congress. The idea is that we should work on easier things first, so that we can work on harder things next.
Transforming our nation's failed prison system looks like it could be easier now than anyone expected. Leaders in both parties agree on the need and direction for reform.
They recognize that locking up millions of people for very long periods of time at ballooning costs is not a wise response to nonviolent crime. Warehousing nonviolent offenders for years behind bars has been an economic, moral and human catastrophe. Click here to read more.