MLK Meets Silicon Valley - Inclusion Hacking For Good In Oakland

Startup Weekend Oakland Invites Community Members, Business Leaders and Techies to Solve Global Issues Related to Education, Health, Restorative Justice and Sustainability
OAKLAND, Calif. - Jan. 16, 2014 - PRLog -- Oakland’s first Startup Weekend hackathon will take place February 7, 2014 - February 9, 2014. The underlying theme is “Building a Silicon Valley that lives up to Dr. King’s dream” and is the first global hackathon for Black Male Achievement. The vision for this groundbreaking event presents the question “Could an app have saved Trayvon Martin?” says Kalimah Priforce, a 2013 Echoing Green BMA Fellow and Co-Founder of Qeyno Labs, the host for this historic event.

Oakland is quickly becoming the go-to place for new technology startups to find their big break.  With the rising costs of living and working in San Francisco, many innovators are finding that the city across the bay bridge provides them with ample transportation options in and out of Silicon Valley’s tech hubs.  Co-working spaces, affordable housing, a foodie’s paradise of delectable cuisine that reflects its increasingly diverse population, and an art and music scene that draws in tens of thousands throughout the Bay Area.  Startup Weekend Oakland will take place at Impact Hub Oakland’s new space located at 2323 Broadway.

What is a Hackathon? Hackathons provide a venue for self-expression and creativity through technology. People with technical backgrounds come together, form teams around a problem or idea, and collaboratively code and/or design a unique solution from scratch — these generally take shape in the form of websites, mobile apps, and robots. Each team has the opportunity to pitch their creation to a panel of judges whose expertise reflect the five tracks our participants will be “hacking.”  Teams have an opportunity to win prizes and awards, gain recognition amongst organizations, government officials and community leaders while interacting with notable movers and shakers in the Bay Area.

A Hackathon for Black Male Male Achievement (BMA)?  Oakland offers more than exciting opportunities for work and play.  Oakland is also home to a community of activism, social entrepreneurs, and green innovators tackling the biggest problems that are often overlooked by the largely Valleywag culture of its neighbors.  “Startup Weekend Oakland is an inclusive event focused on progressive community problem solving intended to inspire collaboration amongst diverse ethnicities, professions and genders,” states Ayori Selassie Founder of Pitch Mixer Entrepreneur Forum and organizer for Startup Weekend Oakland.  This three-day 54 hour event encourages developers, designers, and innovators from all backgrounds to tackle issues related to what today’s statistics reveal – from health, to education, to incarceration rates, young Black males have untapped potential.

Startup Weekend Oakland is initiating a national conversation on innovation that doesn’t typically happen in the tech scene thanks to supporters like the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement, a multi-issue, cross-fund strategy to address black men and boys' exclusion from economic, social, educational, and political life in the United States.

#YesWeCode Reception (Saturday Evening -- February 8, 2014) - Startup Weekend Oakland’s most significant partnership is with Van Jones and Rebuild the Dream’s #YesWeCode initiative to get 100,000 low opportunity youth to learn to code.  “Our aim is to make the training, tools and technology of Silicon Valley available to our communities – providing education and access that will demystify the language of coding,” states Van Jones, President and Founder of Rebuild the Dream.  Van Jones will be keynote speaker for Saturday evening's reception as he shares his bold vision to a room filled with leaders from the San Francisco Bay Area and across the nation.  He will then be joined by a panel of influencers and experts for an hour-long discussion on Oakland becoming the home for the #YesWeCode movement.

The old adage, “it takes a village to raise a child” is supported by Startup Weekend Oakland’s family of contributors, sponsors, and community partners that include: Policy Link, The Kapor Center for Social Impact, Impact Hub Oakland, Pitch Mixer Entrepreneur Forum, Cooperative Education Ventures, Black Founders, Latinos for Social Change, BiTHouse and many others included on their website.  “Supporting the creation and promotion of  technology solutions, products and services generated by members of diverse communities in cities like Oakland is a honor,” states Jewell Sparks, inclusion hacking strategist and Founder of Strategic Diversity Group and BiTHouse (aiding with partnerships for the event).

Visit: to take advantage of early bird registration for the event and reception. If you are interested in contributing to the event as a partner or sponsor, email:

About Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. Headquartered in Seattle, it is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs and innovators with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.  From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and launch their ideas.

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Tags:Startup Weekend, Oakland, Technology, Inclusion Hacking, #YesWeCode
Industry:Society, Technology
Location:Oakland - California - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Jan 16, 2014

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