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SUPER HARBOR | May 2017

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Black Girls Code Brings Tech and Respect to Brooklyn

Black Girls Code Brings Tech and Respect to Brooklyn
Fikriyyah George

Popular tech  organization that exposes young girls of color to the tech field of web development, Black Girls Code, will host an all girls hackathon this weekend in Brooklyn at NYU Polytechnic University School of Engineering.

A Brooklyn First
While they’ve had previous workshops in Manhattan according to Calena Jamieson, Community Outreach Lead for Black Girls Code, this is the first time they’re setting shop in Brooklyn, as well as the first series of hackathons hosted by them.

The two-day event aims to build apps that will help young women set boundaries and cultivate healthy romantic relationships. The theme #loveisrespect was chosen to combat the dating violence young girls and teens encounter.

Organizers are expecting to have 110 girls between the ages of 12 and 17 participate.  Young girls who attend don’t need previous coding experience as the event is open to all experience levels. However, currently only tickets for high school girls are still available. Tickets for middle school girls sold out within two weeks.

What’s a hackathon?
Hackathons are a tradition in the tech industry, an event where web developers, sometimes even business development people, come together to put together web or app-based solutions to certain problems or issues.

Lately, hackathons are increasingly turning their eye towards social issues as this one is doing.

It Takes a Community
Co-founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian a self professed fan of the organization was the “catalyst” is largely responsible for bringing #loveisrespect to Brooklyn. He headed a Crowdtilt campaign that raised over $12,000 for the purpose.

Other series in the #loveisrespect hackathons will take place in Oakland, CA and New Orleans, LA. The major sponsors for #loveisrespect are Verizon and Break the Cycle, an advocacy organization for teen girls setting boundaries in their romantic relationships.

One of the mentors volunteering his time will be Kachi Nwaobasi, a software engineer at Amplify, a Brooklyn-based startup that makes educational tablets for children.

This will be Kachi’s second time volunteering with the organization because “there’s some intrinsic value in helping others succeed and reach goals they would have otherwise thought infeasible.”

The young girls will learn skills like leadership, “how to brainstorm as a team, research their ideas and design a mobile app.”

The hackathon will conclude on Sunday when the teams will demo their creations, receive feedback from judges and be eligible for prizes.

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