When we look at the state of diversity in technology space the numbers are slim. The same goes for offline events and that’s not just in Silicon Valley but across the country. Along with the growing digital divide communities are falling behind when in comes to the fast past world of technology and startups. One community looking to make a difference is Oakland, CA. Next to San Francisco, Oakland has watched San Francisco become the most innovative city in America but their community leaders are not standing idle and watching their neighbors, they are taking action and hosting Oakland’s first Startup Weekend.

While increasing diversity and empowering the community are great, the team behind Startup Weekend Oakland are focusing on more serious topics and problems as well. Such as if “Could an app have saved Trayvon Martin?” Other topics for the event include:

Diverse Teams – to support the assembly of diverse teams for this event, we are recruiting from organizations like The Hidden Genius Project to ensure that there will be plenty of young Black males excited to work alongside you during this event.  There will be five tracks to choose from:

Education

The education track focuses on issues related to the academic achievement of people of diverse ethnicities and economic backgrounds and can include topics related to college readiness, access, completion and career guidance.

Health

The health track focuses on issues related to the public health of people of diverse ethnicities and economic backgrounds such as improving wellness, increasing diversity in the medical profession, and helping Black males navigate and gain access to quality healthcare.

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice seeks solutions related to preventing the criminalization of economically disadvantaged people, and strategies that empower ex-offenders to transition from the prison walls to successful members of the community, and providing valuable intervention resources to high school dropouts or college dropouts.

Gaming

Gaming is an opportunity to re-think how devices like the Xbox and Playstation and other interactive forms of media can be used to improve the lives of people of diverse ethnicities, economic backgrounds, and especially Black males. The focus isn’t just on gaming (games can be created for all the tracks) but is specifically focused on gaming console apps.

Sustainability

The sustainability track challenges participants to create an app or design solution that preserves our environment and encourage personal practices such as recycling, garment collection and redistribution, food production, resource sharing, energy efficiency, and water conservation.

I’m excited to be a judge for this amazing event and looking forward to seeing the ideas and pitches.

You can rsvp for the Startup Weekend – Black Male Achievement at: http://bmaoakland.startupweekend.org/

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