Young People of Color “Hack” Violence at Black History Month Youth Hack Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 25, 2017

Contact: Ashleigh Richelle, (408-387-4353), ashleigh@lpfi.org

Young People of Color “Hack” Violence

at Black History Month Youth Hack Day

Atlanta, GA (February 25, 2017) – Today, the Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI) and Goodie Nation (GN) hosted Black History Month Youth Hack Day, a 9-hour app ideation lab where participants received inspiration from tech leaders and engaged in a hackathon to develop ideas and prototypes for conflict resolution web-based applications. The event was held at the Gathering Spot in Downtown Atlanta.

For the middle school division, the first place team of the competition was Social Budd!e, who created an app that provides advice and emotional support to help bullies change their ways. In second place was Anonymous, a team whose app helps curb bullying by allowing students to create custom avatars in an effort to get honest advice from peers and advisors. Boost, whose app helps students that don’t report bullying for fear of retaliation, report bullying anonymously, took third place.

In the high school division, The Bridge took first place for their app that incorporated artificial and virtual reality technology to help transgender teenagers with bullying problems. The second place team, New School, created an app that uses predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to help transplant students at a new school connect with a network based on interests and hobbies. Amongst Peers tackled cyber bullying through an app that provides support in moments of conflict and reports social media posts with threatening language, and won third place.

In groups of 5-6 students, participants came up with tech solutions to combat violence in their communities. The event hosted over 80 Metro Atlanta middle school and high school students of color. Professionals from the local tech, startup and entrepreneurship communities volunteered their time to not only speak to students about their tech career paths and experiences, but also facilitate design workshops, help build prototypes of their designs and coach participants in preparation for their demos.

“The one thing I hope participants took away from this experience is that they have the genius to create positive social change in their communities — all we [LPFI and GN] did was provide them the resources and opportunity to use that genius,” said Danielle Rose, Chief Programs Officer at Level Playing Field Institute. “These students are the change agents of tomorrow; it is imperative for our communities to support and empower these young people to fulfill their STEM pursuits.  The equitable advancement of our country will not happen without them.”

“This Youth Hack Day produced, by far, the best prototypes out of all the hackathons we’ve organized. These students’ app ideas for conflict resolution were truly out-of-the-box and show what can happen when young people, talented mentors, and the community unite,” said Joey Womack, Executive Director of Goodie Nation. “It was inspiring to see these young minds tackle such a serious reality in their communities with thoughtfulness, courage and determination. I look forward to working alongside these aspiring tech entrepreneurs and community leaders of Atlanta in the future.”

A total of 9 teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges that included Dr. Brian Garrett, Site Director of SMASH Academy at Morehouse College, Aaron Hobson, Computer Science Specialist at the Level Playing Field Institute and Amitabh Mudaliar, Vice President & Senior Client Partner at Infosys. Hackathon participants came from Atlanta schools such as KIPP Metro Atlanta schools, Drew Charter School, Langston Hughes High School, Fulton Leadership Academy and Gwinnett School of Science, Mathematics and Technology.

Black History Month Youth Hack Day is the second co-organized hackathon by Level Playing Field Institute and Goodie Nation. The event was generously sponsored by the Infosys Foundation and the Dow Chemical Company.

###

Founded in 2001 by Freada Kapor Klein, Level Playing Field Institute (http://www.lpfi.org) is committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and fostering their untapped talent for the advancement of our nation.

Goodie Nation (GN) is a tribe of changemakers and entrepreneurs using innovation to help underserved communities globally. With roots as an online community of high-performance entrepreneurs of color dating back to 2009, Goodie Nation aims to become a world leader at empowering individuals to solve problems for underserved communities globally.