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Changing the World One Hackathon at a Time

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George Hofstetter, 14, took part in the My Brother's Keeper Hackathon.

More than 60 teens are taking part in the My Brother's Keeper Hackathon.

Credit: Martin E. Klimek/USA TODAY

Sixty-six teens are taking part in the My Brother's Keeper Hackathon, a group coding competition spearheaded by Qeyno Labs CEO Kalimah Priforce.

Priforce notes this hackathon is different because it caters to African-American teens, rather than mostly white and Asian men.

He says hackathons can collapse the walls that have isolated high-potential kids with too few opportunities. "Why not put Dr. King, Amelia Earhart, and Steve Jobs in one room and see what is it they can do," Priforce says. "But hackathons right now are comprised of Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and maybe one Asian guy. That's a problem."

Priforce is planning 10 more hackathons this year, including events in St. Louis and New York City.

Qeyno Labs, which specializes in organizing hackathons, is based in Oakland, CA, and Priforce believes the city can become the Silicon Valley of the 21st century by harnessing the untapped brain power and hustle of the its diverse youth.

The My Brother's Keeper Hackathon helped develop several promising apps, including 14-year-old George Hofstetter's mobile app to help African-American teens feel less nervous around police officers. Hofstetter's app won the best impact and "outstanding trailblazer" awards at the hackathon.

From USA Today
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