APCAA Digest Winter 2021
CodeHouse Receives $1 Million Grant from Google.org To Support Regional Expansion (Bros. Ernest Holmes Spring 2018 & Tavis Thompson Spring 2019)
ATLANTA, December 6, 2021 -- CodeHouse, the 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on tackling the diversity gap in the technology industry, today announced it has received a $1 million grant from Google.org, the charitable arm of Google. This groundbreaking funding will allow CodeHouse to expand its initiatives to students attending Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs) in Washington, D.C. and North Carolina over the next two years, furthering the organization’s reach while strengthening its mission to build a diverse tech workforce.
The grant also allows CodeHouse to grow the CodeHouse Scholars Initiative (CHSI), its four-year mentorship and scholarship program designed to prepare underrepresented students attending HBCUs for careers in STEM. Launched in March 2021, CHSI provides students with technical training, mentorship, scholarships, and internship opportunities as they matriculate, with support from additional leading tech companies including PayPal, the program’s founding partner, among others.
“Since CodeHouse’s founding, we’ve been able to reach thousands of students of color in the Atlanta area and equip them with the tools they need to successfully pursue careers in tech,” said Ernest Holmes, CodeHouse’s president and co-founder. “With this grant from Google.org, we’re able to take our efforts to the next level and impact the lives of thousands more. The time is now to increase diverse representation in tech, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to receive this generous funding to support us in our mission to do so.”
Pictured above: December 2, 2021 header from BlackEnterprise.com technology feature by Jeffrey McKinney.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced the grant on Thursday, November 18 when she joined Holmes, who also happens to be a software engineer at Google, for the first installment of CodeHouse’s Conversation series. During the fireside chat, which saw attendance from more than 100 Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College students, Wojcicki discussed learnings from her journey in tech, took questions from the audience, and shared advice for rising professionals.
Pictured above: On Thursday, November 18, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki hosted the first installment of the CodeHouse Conversation series.
“The CodeHouse Conversation with Susan Wojicki was definitely one of the top highlights from my first semester in college,” said Azola Martin, a freshman computer science major at Morehouse College and CodeHouse Scholar. “To hear directly from one of the most influential executives in the industry was incredibly inspiring and really reaffirmed my decision to pursue a career in tech.”
To learn more about CodeHouse and its mission to increase diverse representation in the tech industry, visit www.thecodehouse.org.
Brother Emile C. Thompson (Fall 2002) Appointed Interim Chairman of the D.C. Public Service Commission
(Washington, D.C.) -- Emile C. Thompson of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia (Commission) was appointed today by Mayor Muriel Bowser as the Interim Chairman of the Commission. “It is a great honor to be appointed today as Interim Chairman for the Commission. I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioner and our excellent staff, as we continue to tackle the pressing issue of climate change by achieving the District’s clean energy goals,” stated Chairman Thompson.
Prior to the Commission, Chairman Thompson was an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. As an AUSA, he prosecuted homicides and served as a supervising Deputy Chief in the Misdemeanor Section. He was also served as a Principal Member on the DC Water Board of Directors since 2016. While on the Board, Chairman Thompson chaired the Human Resources and Labor Relations Committee and served on the Governance, Strategic Planning, and DC Retail Rates Committees.
The Chairman began his career as a clerk for the Honorable (Ret.) Herbert B. Dixon, Jr. of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He also served in the Mayoral Administrations of Vincent Gray and Muriel Bowser.
Chairman Thompson graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in Computer Science and minors in Math and Biology. His law degree was conferred from Wake Forest University School of Law. He is active in the D.C. community serving as a mentor through the Abramson Scholarship Foundation and is a former board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington. Chairman Thompson was born in Washington, D.C. and currently resides there with his wife and children.
The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia is an independent agency established by Congress in 1913 to regulate electric, natural gas, and telecommunications companies in the District of Columbia.
Black Bostonians Fled To Atlanta To Escape Racism. They’re Not Coming Back, No Matter Who’s Elected Mayor (Bro. BMaynard Scarborough -- Fall 1980)
By Phillip Martin, WGBH Senior Investigative Reporter www.wgbh.org
ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Kyle Wells, 49, grew up in Boston’s Mattapan near the intersection of Morton Street and Blue Hill Avenue. By the end of his senior year at Boston Latin School, he was itching to leave town. “My kind of high school goal was to move out of Boston,” said Wells, who headed southward to attend Florida A&M University in Tallahassee and then seized a training opportunity in Atlanta. “After that, I never looked back,” he said. “This is my out. I’m gone.”
Wells has fond memories of Boston and “the old neighborhood,” but also remembers the city’s rigid racial boundaries. “When you live there, it’s always a part of where you are. You don’t go to certain spots, like Charlestown and Southie,” said Wells — conceding Boston has evolved since then.
Pictured above: Boston native Kyle Wells at his home in Atlanta. Phillip Martin / GBH News.
A senior creative writer and producer for Turner Sports in Atlanta, Wells leads a life with his wife and two daughters on the city’s southwest side that he said he could not have imagined in Boston. He surveys his expansive front yard. A huge Magnolia tree shades their home from the hot Georgia sun.
In the decades following violent resistance to school desegregation in Boston starting in 1974, thousands of Black residents like Wells have moved to the South, as part of what some observers have termed “a reverse great migration.” Census data from 2011 show that more than a million Black residents in the metropolitan Atlanta area were born in the Northeast.
Boston’s unwelcoming racial climate figured to some extent in the decision of five former residents who repaired to Atlanta, based on their interviews with GBH News in October. With Boston about to elect its first mayor of color, the Black former Bostonians were asked if that historic development has changed their minds about the city they left behind. Not much or at all, they replied.
Their searing experiences with racism in Boston have left a lasting mark.
But Logan Gaskill, 42, an Executive Leadership Coach and Strategy Consultant, is somewhat encouraged by Boston’s unprecedented mayoral race. “That’s progress,” he said.
Pictured above: Logan Gaskill, 42, Executive Leadership Coach and Strategy Consultant, says Atlanta offers him more — including warmer weather. Phillip Martin / GBH News.
Gaskill’s father taught at Hyde Park High School during the height of desegregation, and Gaskill says he has watched television footage of racial violence that erupted at the school in 1974. Yet he is still put off by people who seem to view Boston only through the prism of that time period. Like a lot of Black professionals in Atlanta, he came to attend one of the city’s premier centers of higher education: Morehouse College. Spelman, a prestigious historically Black college for women, also draws a large number of Black students.
Gaskill recalled a conversation he had with a friend from the Deep South: “And he said, ‘Where are you from?' I said I grew up in Boston. He said, ‘Oh my God, it’s racist there.’ And I just remember thinking, like, ‘Dude, you’re from Alabama and Mississippi. Like, it doesn’t get more racist than that.’”
But Gaskill says that perception is reality for many Black people around the country — and whoever becomes mayor of Boston will be tasked with changing that image.
Historically, racial hostility extended beyond Boston’s public schools, public beaches and public housing and seeped into the city’s nightlife. Lawsuits over discriminatory entry policies at downtown Boston venues were common in the 1980s, 1990s and even more recently.
“[Atlanta is] our town. Even though I was there for 20 years, I never felt like Boston was my town at all.”
Atlanta native and Morehouse alum BMaynard Scarborough worked for Mayor Ray Flynn and later the Boston Globe. But at night he spent time and energy carving out a space for Black and Latino people in the city’s clubs and restaurants by working with club owners and restaurateurs, including Patrick Lyons and Seth Greenberg. “We did those things because we had to,” Scarborough recalled. “We didn’t have anything to do. So we were a natural group that needed just a little organizing.”
Scarborough’s networking enterprise with friend and businessman Alvin Crawford was called The Loop. It prov