By Laurie Segall, CNNMoneyTech
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Silicon Valley's startup field is dominated by young, mostly white men from a handful of elite universities. NewMe, an accelerator program for minority-led ventures, aims to shake up the scene.
Three months after CNN's Black in America 4 aired, chronicling the stories of NewMe's first class, several of the documentary's participants reconvened at last week's South by Southwest (SXSW) gathering in Austin. In panel discussions and informal chats, they tackled the question: Has anything changed?
"I think the most important thing [the documentary] did is that it started a conversation that did not exist. That's huge," said Hank Williams, who used his time at NewMe to work on Kloudco, a cloud-based data management service.
"I don't know how much we impacted Silicon Valley, but it's starting a larger discussion around the nation," said Gokit founder Hajj Flemings. "There are a lot of people looking to make career shifts."
Editor's Note: Christy Oglesby is the quality assurance manager for CNN/U.S. She lives in Atlanta with her 12-year old son, Drew.
Listen to a CNN Radio interview with Oglesby and her friend, Sandra Bemis, whose son is pictured above.
By Christy Oglesby, CNN
(CNN) – I spend a lot of time gasping. I’m the mother of a boy, a testosterone-poisoned boy. Whether it’s rock climbing or four-story tall cliffs that beg him to jump to the sea, my son just isn’t interested in activities that don’t require me to sign a waiver promising not to sue someone.
I spend a lot of time praying. I have to. My son is black. His race gives me much more to fear than his fearlessness. Today, people are learning that the U.S. Justice Department will investigate Trayvon Martin’s death. That’s the black Florida teenager who was killed by a neighborhood watchman last month.
Trayvon didn’t have a gun. He was just walking home from a convenience store to the home of his dad's fiancee. The neighborhood watch captain said Trayvon looked “suspicious.” George Zimmerman said he shot Trayvon in self defense. I’ve worried about my Drew dying like that since a few days after giving birth to him 12 years ago.
It’s tough finding the balance between encouraging a black boy to storm the world with confidence and at the same time to fear for his life. But that’s what I must do. I know that at this very moment some have just sucked their teeth in disgusted disbelief and decided that I’m exaggerating. I wish that I was. I’m not. If I were, Trayvon would be alive. FULL POST
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