Just a stone’s throw away from Silicon Valley, a group of young, talented programmers talk candidly about race, technology, and future aspirations.
“Once I saw what you could do with coding I started to like it,” says Isaiah. “It teaches you how to think critically and become a problem-solver and not just a coder.”
In a poignant discussion the four students, who’ve all learned to code and develop apps at hackathons, reveal incredible potential as well as frustration at the lack of diversity in the tech industry.
“Google, Facebook, Pandora, all those places, I want them to include us,” says Sasha. “I want them to include women.”
The Bay Area youngsters are the stars of Code Oakland, the latest in the Teached short film series by independent production company Loudspeaker Films. They were invited to participate in a youth tech panel over summer at Impact Hub in Oakland, California, following the film’s screening. Cedric Brown a managing partner at the Kapor Center for Social Impact moderated the event.
“My goal as a filmmaker is to put more voices “on the loudspeaker” for social justice and race equality,” said Kelly Amis, founder of Loudspeaker Films, who directed Code Oakland. “After making the short film Code Oakland and meeting these wonderful Bay Area students, I decided we should organize a screening with youth as the guest speakers on our ‘expert panel’ and we filmed it so the whole world — but especially Silicon Valley leaders and workers — could hear what they have to say about the future of technology.”
Code Oakland examines the evolution of Oakland through the eyes of social entrepreneurs determined underrepresented youth are not be left on the sidelines, as Silicon Valley expands into the city that is home to the second largest black community in California.
Oakland is within driving distance of Silicon Valley, but for its African American and Latino residents the rapid growth of the technology sector has not translated into jobs.
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