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Event Recap: Black Girls Code #loveisrespect Hackathon

by Anie Akpe

Event Recap: Black Girls Code #loveisrespect Hackathon

This past weekend, Black Girls CODE, teamed up with Verizon and Break the Cycle to deliver a two-day, girls-only Hackathon themed Love is Respect, which took place at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering in Brooklyn.


Photo Credit: Ken Moore Photography

The event kicked off with Charisma as the host, followed by the girls being separated into teams. The mission of the teams was to build apps and solutions that solve problems on how girls can cultivate healthy relationships while setting boundaries. This event was made possible by Brooklyn native Alexis Ohanian, along with the event partners Verizon and Break the Cycle who had this to say about the event;

Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder Reddit– Bringing the Black Girls CODE Hackathon to Brooklyn is huge for this Borough and the City. Those of us in tech know that to be able to write codes and launch an app is such a powerful thing, and I want as many people as possible, especially in the city that I was born and raised in to have access to this power. Besides having access to the internet, everyone should be given the opportunity to make things, create things and build things. The fact is, the tech industry doesn’t have nearly enough women of color being represented. I hope, by reaching out to underrepresented communities, we would be able to get more and more people with great ideas creating better things. So many people from various backgrounds volunteered their time and energy, and they are role now models to these girls. This event was great for Brooklyn and great for the country and hopefully it was a rewarding weekend for all of the girls that were involved. 

Cameka Crawford, Manager – Multicultural Communications and Community Relations | Verizon Wireless : At Verizon we believe in working with partners to leverage our technology to solve some of the world’s critical challenges. With that said, we partnered with Break the Cycle and Black Girls Code under the theme of Love is Respect. One in every three youths in this country will be impacted by dating violence so when we created the Hackathon challenge for the girls in order to empower and teach them at the same time. The girls met the challenge by creating apps and websites that will teach other girls about dating violence prevention.

 Darlene Kiyan, Executive Director– Break the Cycle— The partnership between Break The Cycle and Black Girls CODE has been amazing because we had the opportunity to be in front of young people and teach them about healthy relationships. Plus having them implement that by creating an app that is positively impactful, not only for other kids, but also for the kids that were here today. With digital abuse on the rise, we appreciate every opportunity, and we thank Verizon Hope Line for partnering with us and Black Girls CODE to work with these amazing young girls. 


Photo Credit: Ken Moore Photography

Judging this event was not easy because these girls were ready and well prepared to take home the prize. Never the less, the winner had to be chosen, and the first place winner of the event was Step One. They all received a $1500 Hopeline Verizon Scholarship and $2500 to a charity of their choice plus an opportunity to compete against the New Orleans and Oakland Hackathon winners. The second place winning team was Team Turtle, and they all received Samsung Galaxy tablets! The third place winners received iTunes gift cards. Kudos to the judges which consisted of;

1. Darlene Kiyan, Executive Director | Break the Cycle
2. Cameka Crawford, Manager – Multicultural Communications and Community Relations | Verizon Wireless
3. Merline Saintil, Head of Global Engineering Operations, Mobile & Emerging Products | Yahoo!
4. Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder | reddit
5. Lyndsey Scott, Model & Mobile App Developer
6. Janine Hausif, Founder | Around the Way App
7. Malcolm Jones, Development & Operations Engineer | Behance

Black Girls CODE Hackathon was not only held in Brooklyn. The other series in the #loveisrespect Hackathon took place in Oakland, CA. Stay tuned for the announcement of the upcoming Hackathon in New Orleans, LA by following Black Girls CODE on Twitter by clicking here.

Below is the  storify recap of the event by Roy L. Beasley:


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