May 2016: The best month ever for diversity in tech.
by Emile Cambry & Antonio Rowry.
I couldn’t sleep after thinking about just how productive of a month we have had in May. Anecdotally, I knew we had our best month ever, but I just didn’t know just how much we crushed it. I’ll preface it by saying BLUE1647 has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and it took a considerable amount of uphill work before we could finally play offense. And we did. Because our success is deeply linked with our ability to help our communities have unprecedented access and opportunity to a culture of technology development, every once in a while, we can pat ourselves on the back. So here it goes:
This excludes daily full-time classes, workshops, and events in Chicago, St. Louis, and Compton, CA.
We had two official visits to the White House in the month of May!
May 1st: Team BLUE1647 were invited to the White House for a summit
May 1st: Community Lead, Rashad Sallee was on the Tech Scene Chicago podcast
May 1st: BLUE members getting ready for an upcoming performance
May 1st: BLUE announced our summer classes for youth (providing over 5 full-time cohort-based classes twice per day in addition to weekend bootcamps)
May 1st: BLUE held a CoderDojo youth coding bootcamp
May 1st: NSBE Chicago meeting at BLUE
May 1st: BLUE1647’s Code Chicago program held Android development course
May 2nd: Code Abode health-focused web development training
May 3rd: The root featured BLUE1647 in their Afrofuturism series
May 5th: BLUE1647 Roseland Codes program, in Roseland
May 5th: BLUE1647’s Clinton Peabody location pics
May 5th: White House CTO stops by BLUE1647
May 6th: Published San Diego BLUE1647 Code BLUE USA hackathon video, which was seen by Bill Gates
May 7th: BLUE1647 member showed us some of her code she was working on at BLUE
May 7th-8th: 2-Day Youth Java, LUA Minecraft Coding Bootcamps.
May 8th: BLUE held a Chicago Community Trust On The Table roundtable discussion
May 9th: BLUE647 Clinton Peabody published their newsletter
May 9th: Impact Engine held a all-day retreat at BLUE
May 10th: Prentice Butler hosted On the Table roundtable discussion
May 10th: BLUE student starts full-time job in Engineering at UPS
May 11th: BLUE appeared on the Nerdette, WBEZ live podcast
May 14th: BLUE member organization, The Chicago Inventors Organization held a patent and trademark workshop with over 100 attendees. Here’s the livestream
May 14th: BLUE1647 was the keynote address at the Patrick Spann Foundation gala
May 14th: BLUE1647 is working on a new product launch with Depaul MBA students
May 16th: BLUE hosted Illinois State Treasurer Frerichs for a Fireside Chat
May 17th: BLUE hosted Coffee and Conversations meetup
May 18th: BLUE published grades of summer youth applications
May 18th: BLUE member Edward Yu was on Tech Scene Chicago podcast
May 19th: BLUE1647 partners with Cambien Networks, SoCore, and Leave No Veteran Behind for South Shore center
May 20th: BLUE announces new 1919 photography cohort
May 20th: Roseland Codes Demo Day
May 21–22nd: BLUE hosted a hackathon with CodeDay Chicago, a 24 hour youth hackathon, with over 85 attendees.
May 21st-22nd: 2-Day Youth Java, LUA Minecraft Coding Bootcamps.
May 23rd: Clinton Peabody website sneak peek.
May 24th: “BLUE Wear” umbrella sneak peek. (“Wearables” adult & youth cohorts launching this summer)
May 24th: “BLUE Wear” previews BLUE backpack
May 24th: BLUE student receives full scholarship in Mechanical Engineering
May 25th: BLUE 10-year old student, graduates from associate degree program
May 26th: Chicago Public Library Training (50 attendees)
May 29th: Code and Cocktails meetup
May 29th: BLUE student receives and accepts equity to a search-engine startup leading Android Development
May 27th: BLUE Artist in Residence, Roho Garcia held his Red Tour, pop-up art show
May 27th: BLUE member, Ray Hightower on WGN Radio show
May 27th: Greater Food Depository meeting at BLUE
May 29th: BLUE member launches Tech Month Chicago
May 31st: BLUE represented at the White House for the Nation of Makers roundtable
May 31st: (Workforce.org post) Engaging global thought leaders at ASU GSV Summit.
May 31st: Chicago Inventor organization Internet of Things Law meetup. Here’s the livestream
As a minority-led team we’re full of conviction about trying to create real social impact for our communities. We’re telling a story from a perspective that can’t be faked. We’re using instincts that can’t be taught, fostering a space where everyone feels accepted and supported, building a brand that can’t be copied.
Our innovation with @BLUE1647 is the ability to provide instruction and an environment that’s typically price prohibitive in a format to appeal to those traditionally left out of these opportunities. And not just do it once, but scalable and replicable. Whereas other organizations may be forced to guess at what their customers want, we have a direct relationship with our community, operating in underserved communities seven days a week. Having a deep understanding of current pain points, wants, and desires, but also the credibility to deliver solutions that will be not just heard but coveted. Only authentic empathy and insights for our community’s needs could establish the credibility and insight necessary to solve long-standing problems. Our narratives are important. Our communities are recognizing that letting entities solely set up to make profit from trends that set the public discourses in our community is destructive. As I mentioned before, ‘even if places claim diversity, people who are underrepresented recognize authenticity (or lack there of) where other groups simply don’t see’. Servant leadership is not a popularity contest judged by how many social Retweets/Followers you have. Nor is it measured by interviews in media. The question to self-proclaimed “leaders” particularly in tech is simple. “Are you serving the people you claim to protest/speak for, and would they agree?”
When you have a recipe of true authenticity, plus massive opportunity, wherein our marginalized communities are considered emerging markets, with a strong belief that this is an *important* piece of the new American story having everyone involved in the innovation economy — you have to act.