Hack the Hood believes in highlighting the young people who have brought their skills and passions to our program to inspire others. We're profiling a different young leader each month to share their journey through Hack the Hood and beyond, with Kesha being our June feature.
Yesterday was #BlackoutTuesday. Today is a new day and we’re going to start with love.
A love letter to Oakland, from Hack the Hood
We honor the organizers of the youth-led protest on June 1st.
We honor Oakland’s Black businesses and their commitment to the Town.
We honor each education institution and organization doing movement work, centering the experiences of Oakland’s Black youth.
We see you. We hear you. We love you.
We hold Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade in our hearts.
In the 14 weeks since Ahmaud’s death on February 23rd, media outlets have been rife with traumatizing images of racist acts against Black people. Their offenses? Living. Sleeping. Birdwatching.
The sobering reality is that we have been engaged in fighting systemic racism, including police brutality, high unemployment rates, and lack of access to quality education for centuries. Compounded with COVID-19 suffering -- losses disproportionately impacting Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and low-income communities -- this unrest is a reflection of collective grief. This time is also wrapped in fear. Watching the U.S. erupt into outcries to protect Black lives is reminiscent of Ferguson in 2014, Los Angeles in 1992, and Newark in 1967, to name a few. These protests remind us Black lives are invaluable and Black futures are vital to the progress of this country. Period.
Despite the heaviness of this moment, we rise.
We’re at an inflection point and fortunately, we’re only going forward. The unexpected beginning is here and it’s important we not misuse it to reconstruct what has ended. At Hack the Hood, our mission is rooted in equipping youth of color and small business owners with the technology education and resources needed for economic mobility. The future of our communities rests on shifting from being solely technology consumers to technology architects. How we cultivate underestimated talent and leverage partnerships for career opportunities in this moment is key. Hack the Hood’s impact, nurturing technology architects, has reached over 1000 youth and 400 small business owners in Oakland. This work and the impact we’ll continue to make bring us joy! Despite Shelter-In-Place orders, we have doubled down on our efforts to serve Oakland and are proud to support 65 students in virtual bootcamps and Tech Prep sessions this summer. We do this work to promote economic and people power in Oakland. Our vision is to continue cultivating Black, Latinx, Indigenous technology architects nationally. Though there is a long road ahead. We remain steadfast and stand in solidarity with our partners doing this work.
Tiffany Shumate and the Hack the Hood Family
We honor the Black lives we’ve lost to police violence and those unknown. Amadou Diallo (NYC, 1999), Oscar Grant (Oakland, 2009), Tamir Rice (Cleveland, 2014), Eric Garner (NYC, 2014), Mike Brown (Ferguson, 2014), Sandra Bland (Texas, 2015), Freddie Gray (Baltimore, 2015), Alton Sterling (Baton Rouge, 2016), Philando Castile (Minnesota, 2016), Botham Jean (Texas, 2019), Atatiana Jefferson (Texas, 2019). Ahmaud Arbery (Georgia, 2020), Breonna Taylor (Louisville, 2020), George Floyd (Minneapolis, 2020), and Tony McDade (Tallahassee, 2020).
These are only the lives that received national attention. Our hearts are with the countless families without the justice they deserve and the victims we’ve lost from Latinx and Indigenous communities. The fight against police brutality and racism is intimately tied to upending anti-Blackness, globally. For justice, there must be collective action across all disenfranchised communities and our accomplices.
Ways To Support
To our non-Black community members in Oakland and the greater Bay Area: None of us is free until all of us are free. We must collectivize our efforts to end white supremacy and the systematic oppression of black, indigenous, people of color.
Educate yourself & share!Support local Black-owned businesses and organizations
Dear Hack the Hood community,
After an intensive nationwide search, the Hack the Hood Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Tiffany Shumate as the organization’s next Executive Director. Tiffany will take the helm of the organization on its continued mission to close the digital divide for youth and small businesses starting June 1, 2020.
Tiffany Shumate is a dynamic leader with deep experience working in career development and youth-serving organizations. She defines herself as an educator committed to leveraging technology and business to drive access to quality workforce opportunities for underserved communities.
Tiffany was previously at AI4ALL, where she led its university expansion and oversaw the alumni program, curriculum design, and student recruitment. She most recently served as AI4ALL’s Senior Director and grew university partnerships from 6 to 16 sites across North America, including Vancouver, British Columbia. During her tenure, she established the organization’s first partnerships in the U.S. South and the Midwest regions. She led her team in tripling the organization’s reach to 850+ students, globally, and in 2019, secured a National Science Foundation research grant to study AI4ALL’s impact on persistence in STEM for program alumni.
Prior to joining the AI4ALL team, Tiffany served as the Assistant Director of Admissions and Multicultural Recruitment at Bryn Mawr College. There, she established partnerships that led to increased enrollment and retention of first-generation, low-income, and non-traditional age students. After Bryn Mawr, she continued her work in college access in leadership roles at College Track and Citizen Schools.
In her transition to education technology, Tiffany worked as the founding Regional Director at Black Girls CODE where she managed partnership and program development in six U.S. regions and Johannesburg, South Africa.
Tiffany is passionate about empowering youth with the resources they need to become future-oriented creators and technologists. Upon accepting the position, Tiffany shares:
We are grateful to Blueridge Advisors, our partners, staff, board, and key funders who played a crucial part of our decision-making, and to the entire Hack the Hood community for your encouragement and continued support through our search process.
This leadership transition is just another milestone in a proud organizational history characterized by continual learning, growing, and reflection. What the future brings during these unprecedented times may feel uncertain for everyone, however, we are confident that Tiffany Shumate will lead us onward and upward towards delivering on our essential mission to serve young people and our shared communities.
We would love for you to get to know Tiffany better. So watch out for more information about a virtual meet-and-greet we’ll be hosting in early June. The Board of Directors is deeply committed to working with Tiffany to ensure her successful and visionary leadership as Hack the Hood enters its next chapter. On behalf of the whole Hack the Hood team, we are all very grateful for your past, present, and future continued support.
Kamal Shah, Patty Mitchell, Luther Jackson
Executive Committee - Hack the Hood Board of Directors
The world is changing every day. As tech emerged, so emerged the digital divide. Today, the rise of COVID-19 and the resulting shelter-in-place has deepened the divide and the impact could be devasting for those without access to tech education and technology-enabled workplaces and careers.
Hack the Hood was created to bring together young people of color, small business owners, and tech industry leaders to advance equity, inclusion, and innovation for the entire community - especially in the tech sector. In our 2019 Impact Report, we shared our vision for 2020 and we couldn’t be more determined to bring these plans to fruition.
In these changing times, Hack the Hood’s mission to bridge that gap is more even critical than ever. As we face an uncertain world, we are certain about this: Hack the Hood is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to remain strong, stable and working to keep our community whole and we need YOU now more than ever to make that work possible.
We intend to keep it 100 through COVID-19 and beyond by cultivating 100 Change Makers to help us further our work and impact all year round through monthly giving. Your monthly donation will help us continue to be the mission-driven change makers the world needs now more than ever.
When you give a monthly gift to Hack the Hood, you ensure that our programs and partnerships have the resources to equip our youth and small businesses with the tools they need to navigate an ever-changing landscape. The amount of small change you accumulate in a month can go to creating a huge impact.
Dear Hack the Hood community,
We hope you and your loved ones are staying well and healthy. In the midst of these uncertain times, we wanted to share some positivity with our 2019 Impact Report which reflects our aspirations and marks our progress as an organization. This past year, your continued support had a tremendous impact here in Oakland and with our partner organizations, who’ve taken our curriculum and empowered more young people.
Hack the Hood was created to bring together young people of color, small business owners, and tech industry leaders to advance equity, inclusion, and innovation for the entire community - especially in the tech sector.
Every year, our team aims to improve the experience of our young people - both current program participants and alumni. We kicked off 2019 with our first ever 9-week spring bootcamp, implementing 3 additional weeks to the program with 84 hours of advanced technical curriculum and 53 more hours of professional development. We continued to engage with our alumni by empowering them to lead our programs and bringing them together for Alumni Appreciation Nights. One of our key milestones for the second half of the year was the transition to our new partnership model. By collaborating with our 8 program partners, not only do we scale our impact, our students receive double the support.
“In these changing times, our work is more critical than ever," said Zakiya Harris, Co-Founder and Senior Advisor of Hack the Hood. "We are proud of the collective impact our work has had on advancing the lives of young folks of color in tech."
On behalf of the 1,015 youth and 400 small businesses we have served since 2013, thank you for your support of Hack the Hood. We hope that you take enormous pride in what we have accomplished together. We look forward to continuing our mission of changing the face of tech and improving economic mobility to our communities in the Bay Area and beyond.
Hack the Hood
Dear Small Business Community,
In light of ongoing closures and cancellations due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to reach out to you to share resources to help support small businesses.
As we stay vigilant to protect our physical health from the virus, we also need to protect the economic health of our community. Freelancers and small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and right now, this lifeblood is at risk.
The economic impacts of COVID-19 will likely have a ripple effect for months to come. And, while Hack the Hood does not have direct service to support our small businesses during these challenging times, we hope these resources shared below can:
We hope you stay safe and also want to share these resources to help cope with the coronavirus situation:
Hack the Hood
Hack the Hood believes in highlighting the young people who have brought their skills and passions to our program to inspire others. We're profiling a different young leader each month to share their journey through Hack the Hood and beyond, with Walter being our February feature.
1. What made you decide to join Hack the Hood (HtH)? When did you start with HtH?
I initially joined Hack the Hood in the spring of 2017. I learned about the organization from a tech workshop that was happening at my school. I decided on joining Hack the Hood because it seemed like a good opportunity to try something new and learn new things and meet new people and I always want to learn how to code and understand how software works on the backend. I first joined their Tech Prep Coding and then after that class, I signed up for Hack the Hood bootcamp. It was pretty fun because we made websites and play with different programs and it was really cool. I would definitely do it again.
2. What did you learn that was unexpected? Was there anything that surprised you about the program?I learned that there are multiple ways to solve a coding problem. What really surprised me was how easy it was to create websites in the class, using Weebly. It was a great introduction to learning about web design.
3. What has your journey post- Hack the Hood looked like?
My journey has been a bit tough. College didn’t really work out and I couldn’t be on the debate team and wrestling team due to some unfortunate circumstances. So I joined the Navy a few months ago. I recently completed boot camp and made a lot of connections there. It was fun. Now, I about to head to Japan for my deployment and I’m hoping I get to see all the amazing food, anime, and video games while I’m there.
4. What do you do for fun?
I enjoy playing video games, I debate, and I also play and coach wrestling. I started wrestling in middle school and I have wrestled for 10 years. I have been debating for 5 years and I started in high school, during my sophomore year.
5. What are your favorite foods?
My favorite foods are pizza, chicken curry, and lasagna.
6. What are three places you enjoy visiting in the Bay Area and beyond?
I enjoy visiting Arkansas and San Francisco. Arkansas is such a beautiful place and there are a lot of cool landmarks - like the Buffalo National River. It is such a beautiful sight to behold. As for San Francisco, there is a lot of technology all around the city. Hanging out at the beaches in San Francisco is pretty cool. There are also a lot of gaming companies in San Francisco that have created some of my favorite games.
7. Who are your top music artists?
My top music artists are Black Veil Brides, Halsey, Ellie Goulding, and Post Malone.
8. Who do you follow on Insta?
I only follow people I know and a few famous people on Instagram, like Halsey, Post Malone, and Ellie Goulding.
9. Where’d you grow up? What do you like about the Bay Area?
I was born in Oakland but I grew up in both Oakland and Sacramento. The one thing I like about the Bay Area is that there is a lot of diversity in the population and in the restaurants around the Bay Area.
10. What’s something you’d like to see change in Oakland? What do you want your contribution to that change to be?
I would like to see these empty buildings being used to help out the young people and get them off these streets. I would love to contribute by trying to buy some of these properties and turning them into something that benefits the young people in our community.
11. What do you appreciate about today’s technology?
I appreciate that today’s technology makes things more accessible. For example, smartphones make it so easy to connect with your friends and meet up. Also, it makes it so you don’t really have to do a lot to get the thing you need done, like how Uber has Uber eats that is an app that gets food delivered to you.
12. What type of technology do you wish you had but hasn’t been invented yet?
I wish I had a flying car because it seems like fun.
13. What would be your dream job? What do you want to be when you grow up?
My dream job would be to own my own gaming company, making MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing games) and VR games.
Photography by Christine Cueto.
Exciting news from Hack the Hood to our community of support!
We’re writing to share the news that Hack the Hood is in the process of searching for our newest Executive Director to lead us into the next decade.
Recently, we transitioned from our co-founder and founding Executive Director & CEO, Susan Mernit, through an interim CEO period, led by Michel Gelobter. Now, we’ve moved forward with the important next step of identifying a new full-time leader for the organization.
Because our community of support and partnerships have been so important to Hack the Hood, we wanted to share this news publicly along with our plan to ensure a thoughtful and smooth transition to the next phase of this organization’s growth and development.
The Board’s gratitude goes to Michel and to our staff, partners, supporters, and volunteers over the past year and a half. It is due to their commitment and leadership that Hack the Hood is as strong as ever. We are excited to build on our momentum going into the new year.
To find our next leader, the Board has formed a Search Committee which includes Board Chair, Kamal Shah and board members Gabriel Castillo and Tanya Caragol as well as co-founder of Hack the Hood, Zakiya Harris.
To ensure our search process is rigorous and thorough, we have engaged Blueridge Advisors. The team at Blueridge understands our values, our mission, and the current environment and life stage of this young, mission-driven organization.
After incorporating feedback from staff, consultants, founders, and community stakeholders, Blueridge has developed an opportunity brief for the role and is committed to identifying and securing a diverse and talented pool of qualified leaders for us to choose from. Equally importantly, their role will continue as an advisor to the Board after the hire of the new ED.
The position description is posted here. To apply or to nominate an individual, please provide a cover letter and resume expressing your interest to email@example.com with “Hack the Hood – Executive Director” in the subject line. All applications and referrals will be held in the strictest confidence.
Thank you for all you have done to support Hack the Hood, and for your partnership during this exciting time of opportunities and growth. On behalf of the whole Hack the Hood team, we are all very grateful for your past, present, and future continued support.
Happy New Year!
Kamal Shah, Patty Mitchell, Luther Jackson
Executive Committee - Hack the Hood Board of Directors
At the end of the year, we are looking back and celebrating all we have accomplished.
One of Hack the Hood’s biggest accomplishments in 2019 was cultivating and solidifying partnerships with schools and community based organizations to provide Bootcamp workshops and after school programs on site to them to reach more young people. And there is no better example of this partnership model working out so well like Alameda Point Collaborative.
We can go on and on about all the reasons why this partnership model is efficient and effective but really, Marque, our program partner at APC, nails it when he speaks to what the Hack the Hood partnership model provides:
“Having proficiency in tools and technology is one thing and having the ability to feel confident when you meet new people and take new risks is another thing. It is wonderful to be around people who are so skilled in transferring that feeling to young people.”
In 2020, we are looking forward to providing both the tools to hone technical skills AND professional skills to build more confident young leaders that will continue to re-shape access into tech careers.
In the spirit of giving, gifts come up a lot: what gifts to give, what gifts to receive. But here is question that Anthony Holloway, Hack the Hood Volunteer, brings up:
What gifts do you have that you can share with others around you?
According to Anthony, we all have gifts and we are all “obligated to share them.” He isn’t referring to the gifts we can wrap up with a bow. He is talking about the innate goodness in all of us and how we all have something to give and share with others to be that nudge, like he refers, to make a difference in the lives of others.
As we close our office for the next few days, we encourage you to think about the gifts you have that you can share with others. What do they look like? And more importantly, how could your gifts impact the lives of others?
We are always so grateful for the community that surrounds us with their giving this time of year and all year round. If you haven’t yet and can, consider giving to Hack the Hood today.
Hack the Hood Blog
News items and musings on tech inclusion, youth development, buying local and more.