Ferguson Activists Crowdfunds to Launch Technology Program to Bring Revolution to the Cloud

Community supporters, technologists and activists crowdfund $10,000 in 10 days to activate youth in technology in hopes to bring revolutionary movement to the cloud.
Hands Up United Launches Tech Program
Hands Up United Launches Tech Program
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* Hands Up United
* Ferguson
* Technology
* Digital Divide
* Tory Russell

* Non-profit
* Technology

* Ferguson - Missouri - US

* Projects

FERGUSON, Mo. - Dec. 9, 2014 - PRLog -- In the spark of a revolutionary moment where youth have risen up to hold the U.S. government and national police departments accountable for racial profiling and killing black and brown citizens, an era referenced as The New Jim Crow, a youth-led nonprofit organization, Hands Up United, successfully crowdfunded $10,000 to pilot Ferguson’s first youth technology program with the help of over 140 community supporters, technologists and activists.

“The response from our grassroots supporters has been amazing,” says Tory Russell, co-founder of Hands Up United. “Our campaign shows the growing support we have in the community at large for our work to introduce Ferguson youth to web development, IT support and computer programming. This program is one of 10 youth programs we will be rolling out in the upcoming months.”

Hands Up United is launching the technology program as a way to counteract cyber warfare, close the digital divide and address the issues of economic equality. The nonprofit believes it is imperative to combine technology and social justice to the revolutionary movement. “The digital divide is a tactic being used in the 21st century to deny people of color the same opportunities and rights as other white and privileged Americans, says Abby Bobé, a passionate technology activist and member of Hands Up United. Bobé adds, “The revolution has started and if we want to continue pushing this movement forward we will need to invest in preparing our youth with skills to protect themselves against cyber warfare, mass government surveillance and get them ready to participate in the job market.”

Forbes listed the city of St. Louis as an up-and-coming technology hub in April 2014. With a growing technology space, Hands Up United will rollout various workshop series to target different age groups as a way to prepare the Ferguson youth. The programs include a one-day workshop series focusing on cyber protection, web development, design thinking and hackathons aimed to 13 – 18 years old in local high schools and a 6 – 8 week workshop series focusing on Front-End Development, Startup Entrepreneurship, IT Support and Quality Assurance Testing aimed at 18 – 30 years old.

“With this program, we're one step closer to providing everyone an equal right to contribute to society and be heard. Personally, I can't wait to see what we all gain from this. I'm looking forward to supporting this,” shared Nick Apperson, a local STL technologist and campaign supporter.  Another community and campaign supporter excitedly shared, “I believe in the abilities, talents, strengths, and passion of the young people of Ferguson. I stand with you and support and honor your commitment to justice, empowerment, education, and advocacy through innovative means. Cannot wait to see what y'all do!”

Computer programming and web development are 21st century skills that can be used to activate ideas, grow small businesses and build grass-root movements.  According to CODE2040, the United States is undergoing two major shifts that will affect the country’s future. The first is economic: science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs are the fastest growing segment of jobs in the US, with 71% of those jobs involving computing. The second is demographic: The US will be majority-minority in the year 2040, with black and brown citizens growing as the fastest growing populations in the country. Yet, despite the fact that they are a growing portion of the US workforce, this population is highly underrepresented in the growing STEM economy.  Hands Up United is committed to ensuring Ferguson youth are not left behind in this growing market.

Cheyenne Green, a 22-year old youth leader from activist group Lost Voices, is one of the upcoming participants in the technology program. The young mother of two shared, “I understand the importance of learning web development skills so that I can be more competitive in the job market. Initially I was timid of anything technology related but as we began gaining momentum in this movement, I started running the Lost Voices website and realized how important it is to share our narrative in the digital world as well as protect myself and my community from online predators and trolls that attack the website.”

The program aims to raise $50,000 for the next year to work with 160 local youth. The $10,000 grassroots effort, http://www.gofundme.com/hv6utk, will plant the seed for raising more funds to continue the program in the upcoming year.  All funds will go towards laptops, stipends and other materials needed to launch the program. Those interested in sponsoring or partnering with resources, including curriculum sharing, can email Abby Bobé, tech program lead, at abby@handsupunited.org.

To be a mentor in the technology program, fill out form: http://bit.ly/1G5ppw8

For any additional details please visit www.handsupunited.org/techimpact

About the Tech Impact Initiative

The revolution will be digitized. Computer programming and web development are 21st century skills that can be used to activate ideas, grow small businesses and build grass-root movements. As a way to counteract cyber warfare, close the digital divide and address the issues of economic equality, Hands Up United will lead technical training workshops to the Ferguson youth.

Abby Bobe
Email:***@handsupunited.org Email Verified
Tags:Hands Up United, Ferguson, Technology, Digital Divide, Tory Russell
Industry:Non-profit, Technology
Location:Ferguson - Missouri - United States
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