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START UP Weekend premiers in Oakland: Black Male Achievement

IMPACT HUB Oakland welcomes First Oakland START UP WEEKEND
IMPACT HUB Oakland welcomes First Oakland START UP WEEKEND
Peggy Reskin

The fresh new community source IMPACT HUB OAKLAND welcomed the first START UP WEEKEND in Oakland for Black Male Achievement February 7th-9th. Entrepreneurs, business owners welcomed young Trailblazers and their parents, Mentors and Super Mentors to the opening of the weekend with the invitation to the young men present to be producers as well as consumers, to creating not just playing video games. From this weekend, many of the ideas that are presented by these young people will get the support and productions to entry into the world of APS, website and technology.

Julian Bryant opened the evening with the invitation to all who chose to present their ideas, and highlighted the evening with the goal of the weekend. To have young black men find their place in the world. Behind him on the screen were the words from George Bernard Shaw that gave a context to why we were all there.

The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for circumstances they want, and if they don't find them, they make them. George Bernard Shaw

START UPS throughout the country from 2009-2013 have had 100,000 attendees. The SUPER MENTORS present were the inventors who had come through and produced new APS, and new technology in the realms of Restorative Justice, education, sustainability in environmental and community support. Those Super Mentors are there for the purpose of supporting the work that will come from this group of Trailblazers by the end of the weekend. The young black men, 13-21 years of age, for whom the weekend was inspired and produced, were of benefit to and from the entrepreneurs and business owners always looking for fresh ground from New York City to Silicon Valley.

The weekend is about action so right away, a line of young Trailblazers came to the front of the stage and presented their proposals in one minute sessions. Teams would be formed as those in the audience were to choose which ideas they would support. It was all about collaboration and using the group to produce the results. Video games and APS that provide services were presented, some extremely imaginative. A Homework AP that alerts the student to when assignments and tests are due was presented by one young man of 16. Connect the Dots by one young man of 14 who attends a private school where black boys are the minority proposed an AP that allowed minority students at different schools to have a way to be in communication and problem solve together. An individual API (Advanced Placement Instrument) was proposed by one Trailblazer age 14, to provide students not in the program at their school to have the benefit of the program with individual testing they could employ. Another Trailblazer, a 9th grader, proposed an Algebra AP for students going from Junior High to High School. Health APs were proposed where diet and exercise could be measured and accounted for to help young people learn how to take care of their bodies.

The idea was to identity a problem which was given by the Trailblazers in their pitches, and a solution. The teams that formed after the pitches by the Trailblazers will work together to bring the idea to use. There were over a hundred people participating. Work that has resulted from previous START UPS across then country were shared, one of which was presented by Sharon Simmons in her COMMUNITY ANONYMOUS AP. Sharon had the tragedy of her nephew being thought to be a gang member and shot in the back by police in Chicago. What she did with this heart break is identify the problem. She determined that the problem was getting information from the community to the police. The gap between the police and the people was where useful information was that would be of benefit. People do see and hear things, Sharon said, but do not come forward. Because some of the police give information to gangs, they don't trust that police are safe to make reports to and don't want to put their own lives at risk. Her AP provided the means for the public to report what they see anonymously. There has already been a value to this AP resulting in more reporting and more information to police who have used the information well, Sharon reported.

Throughout the weekend, the teams that form will support these young Trailblazers to establish a mentor relationship with those who want to see them succeed, and actually learn about success in the process. As well, the APS and gains in technology seen through the eyes of youth will produce a series of ideas and suggestions that can add to improved community life, and have the youth be producers as well as consumers in video games and technology.

VAN JONES will be the speaker tonight at the event. Recently at a Ella Baker Breakfast, Van Jones spoke of the need for those who got out of the racial limitations and obstructions to go back in and support this next generation. In doing so, the young black males will find what they need off the streets and in the world in which they are included as productive participants. The sense of the tragedy of young black men like Trayvon Martin and those around the country who are being killed in their early teens prevails, but the inspiration of this work for Black Male Achievement provides a platform for entry and purpose for this upcoming generation and a new chapter that encourages their participation and the means to achieve their place and purpose.

Impact Hub Oakland

2323 Broadway 9612

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