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Dear Miami Community,

We are proud to announce that the winners of the Unite and Fight Hackathon are the Smile Trust team members! Congratulations to Kim Tupy, Nishita Aswani, Kristina Nikacevic, and Muntaser Syed. And thank you to Ebstesam Al Haque for supporting the team.

What is U&F?

In July 2020, Wyncode Academy launched the Unite and Fight Hackathon, an initiative in partnership with eMerge Americas, Center for Black Innovation, Palm Beach Tech, Venture Cafe and Wyntalent, with the aim to build connections between community leaders and civically minded web developers and UXUI product designers, in order to design and build web applications to actively combat systemic racism. In the wake of a season of horrific injustices against Black Americans, organizers felt a sense of urgency to use our platforms and skills to collaborate on projects with the express purpose of furthering the cause of social justice as they relate to race relations in the US.

Unite and Fight is multi faceted. Its structure is the following:

  • Lightning Talks from Black leaders to share and inform the developers and product designers that would be building.

  • Hackathon to kick off the work.

  • Meetup every other week to continue the building over 5 month. In this time the developer and product designers updated on progress and met with the organizations they were building for.

  • Judging Event: The groups that continued their work presented to a panel of judges in which the winner was selected.

  • The winning team and organization to meet with Mayor Francis Suarez in 2021.

  • The winning team and organization to present at eMerge Americas in 2021.

It began with a series of Lightning Talks on July 16, in which local community leaders shared insight about the daily and systemic injustices faced by Black individuals and communities in America in the 21st century. Speakers also shared information about organizations and ongoing community initiatives that promote equality within Miami. The goal of these talks was to ground audience members and hackathon participants in the lived experiences and expressed needs of Black community members, so that these experiences would inform the ideation and construction of technological solutions to real world problems. Thank you to our amazing speakers!

On July 17th, 73 web developers and UXUI product designers divided into 10 teams to begin designing and building web applications with the express purpose of combating racism. Teams put together projects addressing a variety of fields such as supporting and tracking patronage of Black-owned businesses, re-designing websites for community organizations supporting Black individuals and groups, reducing bias in Google search results, assisting Black students with identifying and applying for scholarships to college, and others. Thank you to the NAACP, Smile Trust, Black Women Talk Tech, and Black Men Talk Tech.

From July to October 2020, hackathon groups participated in bi-weekly meet-ups via Zoom facilitated by Wyncode Academy. At our meet-ups, hackathon groups shared progress and continued to build their web applications with guidance and feedback from participating community organizations. Some groups opted to join forces to develop projects jointly wherever there was overlap or space for collaboration. 6 out of our 10 original participating groups continued to build out their hackathon projects, which were presented to a judges’ panel on Tuesday, November 24th from 5:30 - 7:00PM. During this Judging Event, the winner was selected.

On November 23, 2020 the groups presented to a group of judges. They were judged on 4 metrics, social purpose & impact, technical complexity, UX/UI product design and presentation. A big thank you to our judges, Erick Gavin of Savr, Ptah Dunbar of New Relic, Alexis Braddy of GE.

Early next year, the winning team will be meeting with Mayor Francis Suarez in order to share the solution they came up with and discuss the impact this will have on the community. We feel extremely honored and grateful for this incredible opportunity, which will only be possible thanks to the support of eMerge Americas who facilitated the meeting.

The initiative will end with the Smile Trust team presenting at eMerge Americas next spring, with Valencia Gunder speaking on their behalf. We invite you to attend the eMerge Americas conference to watch the selected winner present their outstanding project. We hope you register and don’t miss this incredible moment!

A little background on Smile Trust:

The Smile Trust, Inc. is an International Nonprofit Organization that Fights against homelessness and works toward fixing food insecurities. The organization has taken on the task to provide resources, education, jobs, and housing to combat poverty and homelessness.They strive to revive, reinvigorate, and heal every individual they service while doing so with a Smile.

Finally, we want to thank all of those who participated and made this incredible event possible! Especially to eMerge Americas, Center for Black Innovation, Palm Beach Tech, Venture Cafe, Wyntalent, and last but not least, Mayor Francis Suarez. There is nothing more rewarding to us, Wyncode Academy, than being able to support our community and make a positive impact.

In Solidarity,

Wyncode Academy