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The Next 30 Days Are Huge For Atlanta In Terms of Diversity & Inclusion In The Innovation Ecosystem…Or Will The City Continue To Be Ignored?

posted on
September 16th, 2015
written by
Joey Digital

Diversity & Inclusion is hot right now. From PUSH Tech 2020 to the recent White House Demo Day (disclaimer: I was there) to this past weekend’s Tech Inclusion Conference in San Francisco and a bunch of announcements/events before and in-between, a ton of awareness is being brought to the issue.

But Atlanta is being left out of the conversation.

Ignored? Not respected? Hidden? Not aware of our importance? I think it’s a combo of all four.

I’ve always believed black music drives black culture. And black culture drives American pop culture. And American pop culture drives global pop culture.

And Atlanta drives black music right now.

So if we really want to drive more black and brown people into the tech ecosystem, then Atlanta is uber critical in making it happen. Like Keith Clinkscales said at the 2014 Platform Summit, we (black & brown people) have to “move the crowd” into tech using our largest asset (cultural influence). But it ain’t happenin’.

Fortunately, several really big events in innovation diversity & inclusion are happening in Atlanta over the next 30 days:

#1: The Level The Coding Field Youth Hackathon (September 26 – 27) at Morehouse College

Level Playing Institute, the Kapor Center for Social Impact’s nonprofit, is bringing their hackathon for minority 8th – 10th graders from Silicon Valley to Atlanta on September 26th – 27th at Morehouse College. Level The Coding Field is an amazing opportunity to drive Metro Atlanta minority students into the tech ecosystem, into STEM career pathways, expose them to computer science, and promote production of technology rather than just consumption.

+Here’s what is needed:

Interested parents, students, mentors, and volunteers should register at www.lpfi.org/HackATL

#2: Platform Summit 2015: Diversifying The Innovation Economy (Oct 2nd  - 4th) at Morehouse College

Now in its 3rd year, Platform Summit is a groundbreaking conference on innovation combined with incomparable networking. The 2015 edition is coming back to Atlanta October 2nd – 4th, and will, again, gather the world’s foremost thinkers and doers from underrepresented groups to tackle big, challenging topics about innovation, society, and invention, and will create a deeply powerful experience.


+Topics: Go Ahead & Fix Education, I Dare You | The Problem With The Economy Is It Doesn’t Need You Anymore | The New Capital Is Social | Living Happy, Healthy, & Maybe Forever | WOW. What’s Next…Now

+Speakers: Jack Dorsey (CEO @ Twitter),  David Drummond (SVP Corporate Development & Chief Legal Officer @ Google), Aisha Bowe (Aerospace Engineer/Financial Alchemist), Bernard Harris (Former Astronaut/Visionary Healthcare Investor), David Moises Perez Martinez M.D. (Pioneering Acoustic Health Practitioner), Greg Gunn (Groundbreaking Education Visionary), Marlon Nichols (Cultural Investment Trailblazer), Maya Beasley, Rafael Ortiz, Ricardo Garcia-Amaya, Tanya VanCourt, Lisa Gansky, Laurence Latimer, Andrew McAfee, Guy Primus, Maira del Pilar Avila, Seth Robertson and Vien Tran, Laura Wiedman Powers, Gene Wade, Ayanna Howard, Star Jones, and Yvonne De La Pena

+Who Should Be There: Those in Politics/Government, Tech, STEM, Education, Economic Development, Entrepreneurship, Social Good (Non-profit), Corporate Diversity, Entertainment, and Community Activism.

+Why You Should Be There: You’ll connect with 600 of the most powerful, influential, inspiring, world-changing people in tech, diversity, innovation, etc. in an intimate and true VIP setting. This isn’t hyperbole. Check out the website and previous speakers.

+Video From The Previous 2 Summits: Watch Their YouTube Channel Here (Do This. Trust Me.)

This is an expensive ticket ($995), but my organization has been given a code for discounted admission (drops down to $199). Get the code atwww.amplify4good.org/platform

#3: Goodie Hack @AUC (Saturday, October 3rd) at Clark-Atlanta University’s Innovation Center

My organization, Amplify 4 Good, is taking our super popular social good hackathon for under-served communities to colleges. And we’re starting with a mini-hack in the Atlanta University Center. Interested African-American students from any college in Atlanta will be shown how to generate ideas for social impact tech products as well as the basics of product management. The top students will then be given key opportunities including meetings with mentors, influencers, and investors.

Interested students and potential partners should sign up atwww.goodiehack.com/auc

If Atlanta comes out and supports, then it will go a loooooonnnnng way toward making a serious dent in changing the trajectory among minorities in tech (in addition to getting respect for the city). If not, well…

Like Andre 3000 said at the 1995 Source Awards (when they were booed after winning Best New Rap Group), “the South got something to say.” And the rest was history.




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