Pages tagged "news"

OpEd: Can Common Core Help Close the Diversity Gap in Silicon Valley?

Screen_Shot_2016-08-25_at_11.22.06_AM.pngFrom Snapchat to Tumblr—our young people are naturally conversant with technology and online environments. But comfort with technology isn't enough to be prepared or get recruited for a job in Northern California. It takes a high-quality education with expectations calibrated to market demands. To date, the deck has been stacked against black and Latino students.

Educational inequity is nothing new for black or Latino families. The nature of our localized public school system has always meant that your ZIP code can determine what kind of education you get. Schools in some neighborhoods simply aren't held to the same standard as schools in other neighborhoods or provided the same exposure to coursework that can prepare them for a career in technology.

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NBC Bay Area: Teaching Kids to Code and the Digital Divide


Reading, writing and arithmetic used to be the three basics of a solid education. But in this age, more kids are learning to code as well.

Thousands of kids and teens are being taught coding skills at public schools and private academies across the Bay Area.

“Coding is an essential, basic technique that teaches kids how to think and how to problem solve,” said Wayne Teng, co-founder of The Coder School. The school has three locations in Cupertino, Palo Alto and San Mateo. “We definitely think it’s a very essential and basic skill."


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Mic: For All of Prince’s Musical Genius, His Unsung Legacy Will Be His Activism


It turns out Prince wasn't just a prolific musician; he was also a devoted activist.

New stories are emerging about his continued support of black activists. Shortly after the 57-year-old's unexpected death, Alicia Garza, one of the women who began the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag that later spawned a nationwide movement, wrote a moving tribute that touched on his legacy as an activist. 

"Early on in the evolution of Black Lives Matter and this new upsurge of black freedom dreams, he quietly and yet deliberately made sure that we had what we needed to be successful," Garza wrote. "I remember asking what we could do to acknowledge him, what could we do to show our gratitude and the response was to keep going. To keep building. To keep moving towards freedom."

Former White House Advisor and current political commentator Van Jones gave a moving tribute to Prince over the weekend. "Prince was immensely charitable — giving away lots of money anonymously," Jones wrote for CNN. "He helped causes as diverse as public radio, Green For All, the Harlem Children's Zone and Black Lives Matter."

"More importantly, he made lots of calls behind the scenes to get people to act on causes that needed attention ... He was kind of like the 911 of the celebrity class."

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Rolling Stones: Prince, the Secret Philanthropist: 'His Cause Was Humanity'


It began with an anonymous check about 10 years ago. Environmental and human rights activist Van Jones was working on George W. Bush's Green Jobs Act when he received a $50,000 donation and no name attached to it. "I promptly returned it," he recalls. "I'm not taking anonymous checks for $50,000. It could be from anybody." But then someone sent it back, and he returned it again.

Eventually Jones received a call from a rep for the donor: "I cannot tell you who the money is coming from, but his favorite color is purple." Jones laughs. "I said, 'Well, now you've got another problem, because now I'm not going to cash the check, I'm going to frame it.'" The story got back to the man who wrote the check, Prince, who found it so funny he called Jones up and befriended him.

That's when Jones learned about Prince's secret other gig: philanthropist. Since Prince's death last Thursday, Jones has learned just how involved Prince was in philanthropic causes. In recent years, the artist – who worked with Jones on the organization Green for All, which creates green jobs in disadvantaged communities, and#YesWeCode, an organization that educates urban youth about technology – worked to raise awareness for movements like Black Lives Matter and sent money to the family of Trayvon Martin. Prince's ex-wife, Manuela Testolini, met him through doing philanthropic work for his foundation and he encouraged her to start her own charity; she's now building a school with her In a Perfect World organization in his memory. In a statement after his death, she described him as a"fierce philanthropist."

The artist had become interested in Jones' Green Jobs initiative when he saw news reports about young people of color putting up solar panels in Oakland and wanted to help. "He liked the fact that I was bringing it to the hood," Jones tells Rolling Stone. "He just thought it was an amazing way to create jobs. He was always about economic independence."

It wasn't easy to define Prince's politics. He was very concerned about poor people and black people, but he also believed in economic empowerment and uplift. "He wasn't red, and he wasn't blue," Jones says. "He was purple. With one sentence, you would think he was Republican, because he'd be talking about the economy, and with the next, you'd think he's a liberal Democrat, because he was talking about the need to fight racism. It was a flow of insights and inspiration. At the end of the day, it was purple politically."

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Fortune: Prince Secretly Funded Solar Tech In Oakland


Prince, at times, had a love-hate relationship with technology.

While beloved musician Prince was inspiring fans through his creativity, it turns out he had a secret life as a clean energy philanthropist.

According to Prince’s friend and longtime green advocate Van Jones, Prince was a major backer of Jones’s group Green For All, which has worked on installing solar panels on the roofs of buildings in Oakland. Jones tells SFGatethat “there are people who have solar panels right now on their houses in Oakland, California that don’t know Prince paid for them.”

Prince, at times, had a love-hate relationship with technology.

While beloved musician Prince was inspiring fans through his creativity, it turns out he had a secret life as a clean energy philanthropist.

According to Prince’s friend and longtime green advocate Van Jones, Prince was a major backer of Jones’s group Green For All, which has worked on installing solar panels on the roofs of buildings in Oakland. Jones tells SFGatethat “there are people who have solar panels right now on their houses in Oakland, California that don’t know Prince paid for them.”

Prince was found dead at the age of 57 last Thursday at his home at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Jones says Prince funded many other charitable organizations as well as the solar projects, and that Prince quietly worked behind the scenes on initiatives combatting gun violence and police brutality. According to Reverend Al Sharpton, he donated money to the family of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African American shot by a white neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida.

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Color Lines: ICYMI - Van Jones Emotionally Recounts Prince's Behind-the-Scenes Humanitarian Support


Political activist and former Obama administration advisor Van Jones knew Prince well, working with The Purple One behind-the-scenes on actions that supported various social justice causes. A visibly emotional Jones detailed that activism to CNN's Don Lemon during an interview the night of Prince's passing. 

"There are people who have solar panels on their houses right now in Oakland, California, that they don't know Prince paid for them," Jones told Lemon on Thursday (April 21), hours after Prince's death was confirmed. Jones further described his friend's support for initiatives and programs like "Green For All" and "#YesWeCode"—support that the famously private Prince didn't often address in public. He also described Prince's more-visible support for anti-police brutality activism in Chicago andBaltimore via benefit concerts. 

Jones fought back tears while describing the guilt he felt immeadately following Prince's death before talking more about his friend's support of others. "Like I said, he was there for us when we were down," he said. "And I know that we're not supposed to talk about it...but he pushed all of us to do more and we all did more. And I want him to be known for that, too."

Check out the full video above, sourced and published to YouTube via Daily Kos, and read more of Van's thoughts about Prince at

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The Grio: Prince’s secret life as a philanthropist


As more people who knew Prince speak publicly about him, a larger, fuller image of the pop icon is coming into focus. One facet of Prince that few knew was that of an effective but severely secretive philanthropist.

Van Jones, a political activist and one-time White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs, is one of the friends coming forward to shine light on Prince’s charity. Jones claims that Prince invited him to Paisley Park after he lost the White House job and struck a deal wherein he would help Jones help others. It seems one of the conditions of this arrangement was that Prince’s involvement be kept secret.

Jones went on to launch #YesWeCode, an initiative with the goal of teaching 100,000 underprivileged kids to code. Prince appeared at the Essence Music Festival to help with the program’s launch, but Jones claims that his involvement was much deeper, crediting Prince with coming up with the idea. Now, Jones tells us that that Prince also helped bankroll it.

Jones claims Prince’s charity reaches well past #YesWeCode – that he supported organizations from #BlackLivesMatter to public radio to Harlem Children’s Zone. Who knew? Well, none of us did, and that’s the way Prince wanted it.

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Vox: CNN's Van Jones - Prince never talked about the money he raised for worthy causes

One close friend of the music icon Prince is saying it's time to "quit talking just about the music" by letting the world know music is just one part of his legacy. Prince was also a secret humanitarian.

"[Prince] did not want it to be known publicly, but I'm going to say it because the world needs to know that it wasn't just the music," said CNN political commentator and close friend Van Jones in an interview with Don Lemon. "The music was one way he tried to help the world. But he was helping every day of his life."

Jones added, "There are people who have solar panels on their houses right now in Oakland, California, that they don't know Prince paid for them."

Some of Prince's other hidden efforts included helping create programs like #YesWeCode to help give urban youth access to tech, and using Jones as the public face for his work with Green For All to make green living accessible for all.

According to Jones, Prince also used benefit concerts in Chicago and Baltimore as covers to work with the city's community organizations in need.

Indeed, the full extent of Prince's charity may never be known, in part, Jones said, because Prince was a Jehovah's Witness and was not allowed to speak about his work.

But one thing is clear: Prince gave the world many gifts, and his records were only a few of them.

USA Today: Van Jones on remembering the real Prince

Back when political and environmental activist Van Jones was building a human rights organization in Oakland, he received a badly needed check for somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000.

It was from an anonymous donor and he worried it could be from the mob or something. So he mailed it back. The check returned. He sent it back and on it went.

“Finally, a lawyer called me and said, ‘Would you please cut the check?’ “ Jones recalled. “I said, ‘I don’t know who you are and you might be wanting to trick me into a scandal.’"

The lawyer, he remembered, said, "I cannot tell you who this money is coming from but his favorite color is purple.”

From there began a friendship that would run deep.

That push to give and help without seeking attention was who Prince really was, said Jones, a 10-year friend of the music icon who was found dead Thursday at his home outside of Minneapolis. In an interview punctuated by rounds of heavy sobbing, Jones described the friend with whom he shared countless deep conversations into the night and who he said quietly used his money and influence for good.

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The Root: The Prince Story Became Personal in Newsrooms Across the Country

The personal became the professional this week as the sudden death at 57 Thursday of pop music icon Prince led news organizations to include the reminiscences of staff members who grew up listening to—or later reporting on—the superstar.

That personal involvement was part of a flood of coverage that engulfed a news media seeking a respite from presidential primary politics and demonstrated again how a diversity of backgrounds can make news coverage richer. It didn’t hurt that Prince appealed to the age demographic of so many who report and make decisions about news.

For a few unforgettable weeks in 1985, I had a girlfriend who used to lip-sync all the vocal parts of ‘Erotic City’ like she was a fully deputized member of Prince’s entourage,” Tony Norman wrote Friday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Leona Allen wrote Thursday for the Dallas Morning News, “I discovered him around about 8th grade, with his big ol’ afro that he returned to in recent years. I had to hide some of the lyrics to his songs from my parents. . . .”

Alejandro Danois wrote Thursday for the Shadow League, “Prince’s music was the soundtrack of my adolescence and his presence hovered just beneath everything else that influenced me in the ’80s, ’90s, 2000’s and beyond.” In the Guardian, Steven W. Thrasher, who is biracial and was the 2012 Journalist of the Year for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, became one of many who wrote that Prince challenged notions of manliness. “In recent years, long after I figured I was gay, I started buying Prince on vinyl: five albums have gotten me through writing this: 1999, Parade, Controversy, For You, and Around the World in a Day,” he wrote Thursday in the Guardian.

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