Mark Zuckerberg's DREAMer Hackathon to Give Tech Savvy Immigrants a Platform to Shine
When you combine innovative tech gurus like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Dropbox's Drew Houston, Microsoft's Bill Gates and LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman with creative thinkers who are passionate and directly affected by immigration reform in the U.S., you have a powerful formula geared towards change.
In an effort to further catapult the immigration movement, FWD.us, an organization started by key leaders in the tech community to promote policies to keep the U.S. and its citizens competitive in a global economy, announced its latest project -- a DREAMer Hackathon aimed at passing comprehensive immigration reform.
On Nov. 20 and 21, FWD.us will be hosting a DREAMer Hackathon to develop new ways to advocate for needed solutions to the problems within our immigration system.
"We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants. And it's a policy unfit for today's world, Zuckerberg wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in April.
"Members of the tech community are keenly aware of the critical contributions immigrants-and particularly DREAMers-are already making to our economy and our country," wrote FWD.us Founder and President, Joe Green.
"This Hackathon is a way to make those contributions more tangible by connecting DREAMers - undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children - with some of the most innovative product design and engineering talent in Silicon Valley," he added. "Working side-by-side, they will build tools to advance our advocacy efforts, creating projects and applications to help supporters share stories, contact members of Congress, and show family and friends why they supporting meaningful immigration reform."
How will the Hackathon work?
According to Green, each team will consist of DREAMers paired up with "mentors," designers and programmers from some of the top tech companies. FWD.us founders will circulate among the teams, providing advice and feedback. After more than a day (and night) of working, we will have a prototype forum where some of our founders will give feedback. We will then pick the most innovative prototypes and ideas; FWD.us and our supporters will work with the teams to get their projects launched as part of our continuing efforts to help pass comprehensive reform.
Zuckerberg visited Capitol Hill last month to press members of Congress in private meetings to support an immigration overhaul, The Los Angeles Times reports. The legislation has stalled in the GOP-led house months after the Senate passed a bill that eventually would grant citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants.
What inspired Zuckberg to launch his advocacy group, FWD.us?
Zuckerberg revealed in an op-ed in the Washington Post in April that he was inspired to launch FWD.us after teaching a class on entrepreneurship in an after-school program.
"One day I asked my students what they thought about going to college. One of my top aspiring entrepreneurs told me he wasn't sure that he'd be able to go to college because he's undocumented. His family is from Mexico, and they moved here when he was a baby. Many students in my community are in the same situation; they moved to the United States so early in their lives that they have no memories of living anywhere else," Zuckerberg wrote. "These students are smart and hardworking, and they should be part of our future."
"We hope the Hackathon sheds light on just a small fraction of the many talents of the undocumented immigrant community, and how our broken immigration system prevents 11 million people from realizing their full potential," FWD.us.
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