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

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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:


#YesWeCode Ford STEAM Lab Hackathon, Detroit

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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.

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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

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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 our storify of SXSW below:

 


#YesWeCode at Social Good Tech Week

social good tech week

Social good organizations deserve the most innovative technologies. That's why Social Good Tech Week featured the coolest technology companies and highlighted stories of social good organizations and startups using technology to solve some of the world's most challenging problems -- including #YesWeCode founders Amy Henderson and Cheryl Contee who gave ignite talks.

Their topics:

  • What I Learned From Kittens, Puppies and Goats About Social Media for Social Good, Cheryl Contee, Co-Founder, Attentive.ly
  • How #YesWeCode is Using Technology to Transform the Lives of 100,000 Low-opportunity Youth, Amy Henderson, #YeWeCode, Co-founder & Chief Innovation Officer

A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. with Cornel West

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.


#YesWeCode Hackathon, Philadelphia (November 14-16, 2014)

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More than 80 young men and women teamed up with professional coders, designers and innovators to develop apps for social good at the first #YesWeCode Hackathon in coordination with the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. This three-day event, which was presented by Google and powered by Qeyno Labs, produced 10 apps designed to solve problems within the community, including an app to connect teens to mental health professionals and an idea for crowdsourcing solutions to remedy urban blight.

Click to see event gallery (PHOTO CREDIT: Johnathon Henninger of Johntown Productions)


Platform Summit, Atlanta (October 24-26, 2014)

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.




#YesWeCode launch at Essence Festival and Essence Hackathon, New Orleans (July 3-6, 2014)

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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



"Diversity brings so much more to the table - and by focusing outside of the usual and rewarding all sorts of people in tech - we can only make it better. #YesWeCode is doing exactly that."
- Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple

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