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.
OAKLAND, Calif. -- There are a dozen reasons why Jahmil Eady was an unlikely computer coder.
In college, Eady was a media studies major with a concentration in film. Her loves were "history and art and English," as she told the New York Times. She didn't attend a university like MIT or Stanford, with a powerhouse reputation in the computer sciences.
Perhaps most notably: in a technology industry dominated by white men, she is an African-American woman.
But her life was changed forever by a modest fellowship to attend a little-known computer training program. And thanks to a bold move by New York City's new mayor, that fellowship program is set to grow -- significantly.
Today, Eady works as a junior applications developer at Fox News. More importantly, she has gone from being yet another underemployed young person to a full-time employee with a good salary, health insurance and a 401(k).
Christine Beaubrun, a graduate who went from working at the front desk to front-end engineering at Intel, has a similar story. So does Lavoisier Cornerstone, a rapper turned developer who now works as a developer at a start-up, and teaches kids to code on the weekends.
How did Eady, Beaubrun, and Cornerstone beat the odds? How can others like her do the same? Click here to read more.
The latest installment of the epic "Hunger Games" series hit theaters this Friday, and it promises to be the year's biggest blockbuster yet.
You can chalk up a lot of these films' popularity to the star power of leading actress Jennifer Lawrence. Certainly, the great action scenes and special effects do not hurt, either. But the real reason "Hunger Games" has captured public imagination is that its fictional world of Panem is, in so many ways, an extreme version of our own America.
For those who have not seen the movies or read the books, the "Hunger Games" tells the story of a young woman -- Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen -- and her defiance of her society's wealthy, exploitative ruling elite. These elite, the dastardly "Capitol," reinforce their power by making the children of oppressed regions battle to the death in what are called "Hunger Games."
It is a far-fetched fairy tale. But if you get caught up in the details of the story, you might miss themes -- crushing inequality, unaccountable governance, violence against children -- that resonate with the daily lives of millions of Americans.
These books and films are not popular because we want to escape to Katniss Everdeen's world. They are a phenomenon because we suspect her world is our own. Click here to read more.
Morehouse College was founded just two years after the Civil War. The Atlanta, Georgia historically black college would go on to be one of only two to produce Rhodes Scholars, and count among its alumni none other than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Oct. 24-26, its historic grounds will be the setting for a one-of-a-kind event: The Platform Summit. Luminaries from the arts, business, and politics will join together with young people and future luminaries to produce powerful solutions to diversify the innovation economy.
Today, Dr. King's dream feels in jeopardy. It is harder than ever to get a good job that pays a fair wage. Technology is transforming the economy in ways we cannot yet predict. Blacks, Latinos, and women are horribly underrepresented in Silicon Valley and across the information economy. If you see a black kid walking down the street wearing a hoodie, you are more likely to think of Trayvon Martin than Mark Zuckerberg.
All the more tragic is that the technology sector is crying out for talent. By some reports, there is a shortfall of more than one million high-tech jobs -- while meanwhile, a kid in Oakland has no idea and no access to the help he needs to get himself into one of those high-tech jobs just down the road in Silicon Valley.
Diversity in the tech sector is a problem for all of us. And initiatives like the Platform Summit are the answer. Click here to read more.