In his keynote address at the 2013 SoCap conference last week, Van Jones offered an audience of investors and entrepreneurs a “scheme” (his words) to advance Dr. King’s Dream, a “scheme” to create “a Silicon Valley Dr. King would be proud of.”
Van proposed joining forces to bring together 100,000 low-income African American youth – 25k in the East, 25k, in the West, 25k in the heartland, 25k in the South – and to train them all to code. Doing so, Van suggested, would be one way not to leave “genius on the table.”
I encourage you to watch Van’s full speech, with its arc and nuances, because it is, in many ways, a dynamic articulation of who and what we are and have been here at the Kapor Center for Social Impact. It is an articulation of the asset-based lens with which we view and understand the underrepresented communities that many of us come from and whom our work engages. It is an articulation of the importance we’ve long stressed of coding education within our economy, and so also to accessing resources and opportunities. And, it is an articulation that this work we’ve chosen to undertake is not aimed only to help those that it directly supports, but, in fact, is carried out for all those of us for whom implicit bias exists as a barrier, persistently limiting who we can become and what we’re able to achieve with one another and as a society.
(Note: Link starts at 13:40. Scroll back for full speech.)