Call for Participants

Mission

Blackathon is a hackathon by Black people, for Black people to create emancipatory technologies for the Black community globally. The Blackathon welcomes participants from across the African diaspora. We seek those with skills and ideas in user design, user experience, web development, software engineering, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and so much more.

Participants are not required to build out a fully functional software system or functional minimum viable product (MVP). A mockup of an application design, results from data analysis, etc. are welcome. We prioritize well-fleshed out ideas over well-fleshed out systems because people come before technology.

This hackathon prioritizes well-being of our participants and as such participants are welcome to start their project as far in advance as they wish. Therefore, the days scheduled for the Blackathon are for participant presentations and invited speakers, and participants have the whole month of February or prior to complete their projects. Most or all of the work should be done prior to coming to the hackathon to a) ensure well-thought out ideas under limited stress and b) make sure participants can enjoy the speakers without using their hacking time. We find that from our experiences crunching development and analysis into less than three days is averse to mental and physical health. In addition, it does not result in better projects. Since the overall goal is to facilitate liberatory technologies for our communities, we believe that it simply does not make sense to force participants to only work on projects to advance justice in our communities in less than 72 hours. Dreaming of our futures extends beyond 3 days.


Teams

Teams should consist of a minimum of 1 member and a maximum of 5 members. Team formation will start in a Slack channel as soon as you sign up and then RSVP. Participants are also welcome to form teams in other ways.


Projects

Participants are welcome to do any of the following tracks:

  1. Systems

  2. Design

  3. Data Science

  4. Miscellaneous

Unexhaustive Example Areas:

  • Health

  • UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • Human Rights/Civil Rights

  • Community Organizing

  • Incarceration/Prison/Policing

  • Corruption

  • Energy

  • Environmental Justice/Climate Justice

  • Financial

  • Education

  • Anti - Abuse and Violence

  • Trafficking

  • LGBTQ

  • Elderly/Disabled

  • Youth

  • Transportation

  • Agriculture/Food

  • Oceanography

  • Space and Aeronautics/Astronautics

  • Arts, Music and Entertainment

  • Supply Chain / Means of Production

  • Abolitionist Futures

  • Ethics + Technology

  • Afrofuturism


Emancipatory Technologies Across the Diaspora

Appolition. Appolition, a portmanteau of app and abolition, is an app which addresses the socioeconomic and racial inequities inherent in the cash bail system by crowdsourcing donations to free those in jail who are unable to pay their bail. Appolition was founded by Dr. Kortney Ziegler and Tiffany Mikell.

BVKit. BVKit is a hardware-software test kit which detects likelihood of bacterial vaginosis, which presents a significant health risk in underdeveloped countries, and then directs high likelihood users to the nearest medical resources. In 2015, BVKit was created by Margaret Nanyombi, Jackline Namanda, Esther Ndagire, Pauline Nairuba, and Bridget Mendoza who are founders of Team Code Gurus and a group of women students from College of Information Computer Technology at Makerere University in Uganda. They planned to market the technology to nongovernmental organizations (NGO) that travel to women who do not have health facilities.

The Red Record. Ida B. Wells-Barnett published The Red Record (1895) a 100-page pamphlet with statistics (i.e. data science), describing lynching in the United States since the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

Visualizing Black America. In 1899, W.E.B. DuBois and his team of 70 Black sociologists produced a scientific report on the status of Black America with statistics and data visualizations which still influence the field of data science today.

Data for Black Lives. D4BL, co-founded by Yeshimabeit Milner, uses data science as resistance to power structures and to bridge the worlds of data science and community organizing. D4BL holds yearly conferences at the MIT Media Lab.

Mechanism Design for Social Good. "Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG) is a multi-institutional initiative using techniques from algorithms, optimization, and mechanism design, along with insights from other disciplines, to improve access to opportunity for historically underserved and disadvantaged communities." The co-founder is Rediet Abebe, a Berkeley EECS professor.

Space Enabled. The Space Enabled group in the MIT Media Lab, led by Professor Danielle Wood, uses space technologies to advance justice in Earth's complex systems.


Prizes

To be announced.