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4 Ways I'm Aiming To Code For Progress

These are four ways in which the training can help me do for my community that I can't already do. Creating websites, developing apps, and closing the equity gap with technology are all a part of a larger vision I have for myself in this collective movement for social justice. #cantstopwontstop.

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1. Power of Young

During the Fast for Families on the national mall, I met Ciara Taylor, Dream Defender's Political Director. I didn't know all of the staff were volunteer and often pay out of pocket to cover travel expenses. As I was fasting, it gave me time to really brainstorm fundraising ideas that evolved into a bigger picture. So, I started Power of Young People.

Since the fast, this idea is still in the works but ultimately what I wanted to do was create a digital platform for young people to share their work & best practices, connect with others across the country, uplift funding and provide leadership tools. Overall, demonstrate the power of young people.

2. Superheroes at the Peace Village in Hanoi, Vietnam

The little boy pictured above loves superheroes. He is one of the children at the Peace Village in Hanoi, Vietnam - a rehabilitation center for children affected by Agent Orange. This little boy has learning and hearing disabilities. The only way I could communicate with him was through play and acting as superheroes.

In 2010, I volunteered at the Peace Village and co-led a leadership program for local students to increase volunteer engagement at the Peace Village. The children affected by Agent Orange ranged in age, growth development and abilities. Peace Village itself is under-resourced, under-staffed and faced constant scrutiny from the local community. Agent Orange is a controversial issue, even 40 years after the Vietnam war ended. Funding and pending compensation for the families are bleak.

Hopes for coding: To help create an interactive website that will increase visibility, understanding and funding for the Peace Village.

3. Immigrant Dreams [ID]

Immigrant Dreams [ID] was an idea that came from a moment to exhaustion. After spending an intense year on immigration reform and grappling with so many of my community members being detained and deported, I was really exhausted. But one of the victories that I held onto was the local fight for issued driver license in DC. How this everyday piece of identification that I am privileged to have can really transform lives of undocumented folks.

Initially, this started as a twitter handle to uplift local fights and narratives on the need for issued identification for undocumented residents. But I held off on launching because this has the potential to do more with the help of coding and technology.

4. For all the Tammy Nguyens out there

My mother, Tammy Nguyen, showing off her ballot at her first voting experience.

I shared during my interview that I spent a year working in a nail salon with my mother. it was a tough time but also blessing in disguise. I gained hands on experience and exposure to the work environment and the products - which some were unregulated and contained toxic chemicals. I think about how the Code for Progress training can help bring into fruition a multi-lingual, interactive mobile app for nail salon workers, owners and clients to use as a safety guide and health resources.

My mom has a smart phone and recently, an IPAD. She and all of the nail salon workers are always constantly on their phone - becoming more and more tech savvy. It was because of technology that my mom registered to vote for the first time which is something that never was a part of her life and mind set. There's a lot of potential to engage marginalized and multi-lingual workers in unregulated industries with technology.

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