Its been a few days since the Amazon Web Services (AWS) #Reinvent #awsreinvent 2019 and reflecting back I must say I was very fortunate to be one recipient of the Inaugural We Power Tech grant that allowed me to attend this conference.
FACT: Out of 700 applicants, 102 grantees from 16 countries were selected to spend a week at the world’s largest cloud computing conference @ Las Vegas!! Grantees received a full conference grant including coverage of conference fees, hotels, flights, and most food and transportation expenses.
For those that don’t know, We Power Tech is a grant aimed at promoting diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in technology by supporting underrepresented minorities.
As Lead Technical Instructor @The Knowledge House in the South Bronx, I currently instruct TKH’s flagship Bridge to Tech program in partnership with NYC’s Small Business Services, Tech Talent Pipeline Initiative, a contributor to the efforts in increasing Diversity and Inclusion in the NYC Tech scene. My students are also very fortunate to be a part of this Bridge To Tech Cohort which leads to a tuition-free ride to Fullstack Academy, NYC premier coding Bootcamp. Because it’s such a unique opportunity I constantly preach to my students why it’s so important to stay the course regardless of any trials or tribulations they may face.
It’s so easy to give up in the Tech world because of barriers like lack of diversity, imposter syndrome, socio-economical issues, or just the simple fact of how difficult it is to learn Tech. It wasn’t too long that I almost fell out of the Tech community due to some of these attributes. It was the special community I found @ TKH, meeting other black and brown Tech enthusiasts, diversity events and pure laser focus on my goals that allowed me to see the bigger picture and fight for diversity in tech that eventually kept me in the game.
It’s obvious how vital and important partnerships like Project Alloy, WePowerTech, and AWS is to Black & Brown Tech enthusiasts. The opportunity to attend such a massive conference with over 60k attendees from all over the world (mostly non-Black & Brown) and still have the ability to sit side by side with a pocket of people that look and talk like you is essential to one’s confidence, gusto, and perseverance to keep pushing the diversity and inclusion efforts forward.
However, there is still a lot of work to do in order to close this massive gap. We have to dig a little deeper on a grassroots level and it starts with how we are educating and mentoring our aspiring tech enthusiast. Let's make sure that all tech hardware, education, and opportunities like We Power Tech and other local tech grants are accessible to disconnected communities. We have smart people out there who just don't get a fair shot, LETS CHANGE THAT!
I will continue to do my part as an Educator and Dev in the South Bronx, I ask of my friends and for those reading this for the first time, if you are part of the tech community and clueless about organizations like Project Alloy/We Power Tech or the lack of diversity in tech here is MY CALL TO ACTION:
The mentorship time spent with disconnected youth and young adults who aspire to be in Tech is invaluable. Students visually seeing volunteers come in to help just changes the atmosphere completely and show that people care. If we multiply small donations 10x it could easily equal one big donation that would allow student access to a computer who couldn't afford it or even better attend an awesome conference like AWS re:Invent that could change the trajectory of that person's life.
If you want to donate to Project Alloy, go here: https://lnkd.in/dA7AcNq
If you would like to volunteer/donate to The Knowledge House, go here: https://www.theknowledgehouse.org/
THE SWAG WAS REAL! =)