This past weekend I was the emcee for a great event that brought many people together to solve problems within our community using technology. The event was called CodeSwitch and it was a hackathon focused on addressing the socioeconomic problems faced by marginalized groups in the state of Minnesota.
It started with breakfast and a panel of distinguished guests discussing the current issues we face and why there is a need to bridge the gaps we have in our community for future benefit. The panelists proposed projects that could benefit people of color in their respective areas of healthcare, the legal system, and poverty. After the opening discussion participants were invited to pitch their ideas in front of the crowd to form teams and get help building an app or website over the next 24 hours to address the issues.
Some of the ideas pitched were an app to help identify available beds at homeless shelters. Another idea was to create an app that helps with mentoring young black boys by connecting them with black men in business, technology, and other fields so they have someone to talk to about how to make it in their world. Another idea was an app that would help people navigate the public assistance system to ensure they could leverage benefits and be able to support themselves as they worked for a better life.
All in all, there were over 20 projects pitches and several teams presented their work yesterday to the panel and other guests. The event ended with a party at Fulton Brewery with a DJ playing Prince music and people having a great time after putting in some hard work to help others.
I sincerely hope that this event continues and that some of the projects will be supported and funded in the future. Events like these can not only address some of the challenges faced by underrepresented groups in the Twin Cities, these events can provide underrepresented groups in technology the opportunity to do something about the challenges we all face in making this world a better place. #disruptinginequity