SXSW: Diversity Hackathon Laying the Groundwork for the Future

SXSW: Diversity Hackathon Laying the Groundwork for the Future


Genetta M. Adams, THE ROOT

AUSTIN, Tx. (—While the tech industry continued to try to figure out what to do about its diversity problem, 50 high school and college students of color were getting a taste of what it might be like to work in Silicon Valley at MVMT50’s inaugural hackathon, held over the weekend at  Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas.

Organizations like MVMT50 have been looking at ways to address the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, where blacks make up about 2 percent of the workforce. The diversity hackathon is one way to expose young people to opportunities they might not even be aware of, said Autumn Caviness, who organized the hackathon and is assistant director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Honors Program at HT.

For those unfamiliar with a hackathon, it’s a competition that brings together coders, software designers and innovative thinkers to conceive and create Web- or mobile-based applications. For the diversity hackathon, students had to create mobile apps that would tackle real-world problems in three key areas: justice, health and education.